10 simple, easy gin cocktails

Susy Atkins
In the spirit: these thirst-quenching cocktails will make a barbecue go with a bang  - Alamy

Prosecco cocktails are all the rage these days - but for those of us with a soft spot for Mother's Ruin, nothing beats a gin cocktail.

Whether you want a drink that's long or short, refreshing or sweet, gin is the perfect spirit.

Bramble

One for when you see the first blackberries appearing in the hedgerows. Blackberry liqueur and gin have a natural affinity, more so than cassis and gin.

INGREDIENTS

  • 40ml gin
  • 10ml sugar syrup
  • 15ml crème de mur (blackberry liqueur)
  • 15ml lemon or lime juice
  • Blackberries to garnish

METHOD

Pour all the liquid ingredients into a chunky tumbler half filled with ice and stir gently, garnishing with a perfect blackberry or two.

Gin Fizz

My own favourite recipe, many times tried and tested (just to make sure…). The egg makes it silkier and richer, but note it is raw, of course.

Cool classic: gin fiz

INGREDIENTS

  • 50ml gin
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • 10ml sugar syrup
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 20ml lightly whipped egg white (optional)
  • Chilled soda water, quantity to taste

METHOD

Shake up the gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup, sugar and egg white (if using) in a cocktail shaker with a little ice and strain into a highball glass half-filled with ice cubes. Top up with soda water.

Gin & Mint

A cool, elegant, refreshing serve. You can add more ‘bite’ with a dash of lemon juice, if you like.

INGREDIENTS

  • 50ml gin
  • Two tender top sprigs of fresh mint, washed
  • 1cm thick slice fresh cucumber, quartered
  • 100m chilled elderflower pressé (NB: not concentrate)
  • Small mint sprig and thin lemon slice to garnish

METHOD

Place the gin, mint and cucumber pieces in the bottom of a cocktail shaker or glass jug, and stir for a minute, squashing down the mint and cucumber with the back of a spoon to bruise them well and release their juices. Strain into a tall thin tumbler containing a couple of ice cubes, and top up with spritzy elderflower pressé. Garnish with mint and lemon.

Bee’s Knees

Why isn’t this Prohibition-era recipe, a brilliant combination of gin and honey, more widely known? It’s delicious.

1920s favourite: the Bee's Knees  Credit: Alamy

INGREDIENTS

  • 50ml gin
  • 10ml runny honey (use the best you can, its flavour will shine)
  • 5ml water
  • 15ml fresh lemon juice

METHOD

Stir the honey into the water until dissolved to make a syrup. Pour into a cocktail shaker with the gin, lemon juice and a couple of ice cubes. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

Lemongrass Fusion

This has exotic, fragrant ingredients and quite a sweet finish from the cordial.

INGREDIENTS

  • 50ml gin
  • 30ml lime and lemongrass cordial concentrate (I use Belvoir’s)
  • 4cm long piece lemongrass, outer layer peeled
  • 2cm square piece fresh ginger root, peeled
  • 150ml ginger ale
  • Slice of lime to garnish

METHOD

Chop the lemongrass and ginger into pieces and bruise them with the back of a spoon. Put them, and any juices from them, into a cocktail shaker with some ice, and add the gin and cordial. Shake well then strain into a tumbler with more ice in it. Top up with ginger ale. Garnish with a thin half-slice of lime.

Gimlet

Gin and lime were meant to be together. More so even than gin and lemon, in my view. Here’s a simple, classic cocktail that showcases the marriage.

Perfect tipple: the Gimlet Credit: Geoff Pugh

INGREDIENTS

  • 60ml gin
  • 15ml lime juice
  • 10ml sugar syrup
  • Twist of lime zest to garnish

METHOD

Pour the gin, juice and sugar syrup into a tumbler half-filled with ice. Stir gently. Garnish with the lime zest.

The Moll Cocktail

Adapted from the famous Savoy Cocktail Book of 1930. The orange bitters make all the difference, so don’t leave them out.

INGREDIENTS

  • 30ml gin
  • 30ml sloe gin
  • 30ml French dry vermouth
  • Dash orange bitters
  • A little sugar, to taste

METHOD

Shake all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice and strain into a cocktail glass

Apricot Passion

Hugely fruity, tangy and succulent, this one, and not as strong in spirit. Use either apricot glaze (which comes in jars in the baking section of major supermarkets) or pass apricot jam through a sieve instead.

Full of passion: Susy's apricot cocktail  Credit: Alamy

INGREDIENTS

  • 30ml gin
  • 2 tsp apricot glaze or sieved apricot jam
  • 30ml passionfruit juice drink (from a 1 litre carton)
  • 10ml lime juice

METHOD

Pour the gin over the apricot glaze in a glass with a little crushed ice and stir very well until the apricot is more or less dissolved. Add the passionfruit juice drink and lime juice and stir further, add more crushed ice, then serve with a straw.

Tarra-Gin

Herbs work well with gin - fresh basil can be good in a gin cocktail, but the mild aniseed and grassiness of tarragon is even better. For a stronger aniseed flavour add a few drops of pastis.

INGREDIENTS

  • 50ml gin
  • 15ml tarragon syrup (see below)
  • 25ml fresh lime juice
  • Lime slice to garnish

METHOD

Make tarragon syrup by heating up a small cup each of water, white sugar and fresh tarragon leaves and stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Do not boil; instead take off the heat and allow to steep for 5-10mins. Strain off the tarragon and let the syrup cool before using. Pour the gin, tarragon syrup and lime juice into a tumbler with ice, stir briefly and serve, garnished with a thin slice of lime.

To make one of these delicious cocktails, take your pick from some of our favourite gins, as chosen by Leah Hyslop, below...

Whitley Neill 

£23.25, 31DOVER

Whitley Neill 

Although it’s made near distinctly-unglamorous Birmingham, Whitley Neill is inspired by the flavours of Africa.

Stuffed with exotic botanicals such as baobab fruit and cape gooseberries, it’s a delicate, smooth gin with a slightly earthy, peppery finish.

Really good with in a G&T, with a slice of orange instead of the standard lemon or lime.

Buy now

Bloom

£24, Amazon

Bloom

With its pretty glass bottle and overwhelming floral notes, Bloom is clearly being marketed as a “girly” gin, but don’t let that put you off.

Uncorking it is like stepping into a fragrant English garden on a summer’s day – all soft chamomile and honeysuckle. Great for a summery G&T.

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Hayman’s Old Tom Gin

£25.25, The Whisky Exchange

Hayman’s Old Tom Gin

There’s growing interest among cocktail enthusiasts in Old Tom Gin – a slightly sweetened spirit which is closer to the kind of gin which would have been drunk in 19th century, when many of our classic cocktails were born.

Several bars, including The Dorchester, have it exclusively made for their drinks, but there are several good recreations for general sale, including this one from Hayman's. Try it in a Martinez , a predecessor of the martini, by stirring 30ml Old Tom, 60ml Italian vermouth, 2 dashes of bitters and 2 dashes of maraschino liqueur with ice before straining into a martini glass.

Feel free to adjust or even invert the vermouth/Old Tom ratios if you want something with a bit more punch.

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Berkeley Square

£34.45, The Whisky Exchange

Berkeley Square

This is a favourite of mine – and the one I nearly always reach for when making a martini.

It has some unusual botanicals, including sage and lavender, but none are overpowering: what you get is a really drinkable, mellow gin with just a touch of sweetness from the lime leaves. Best served in a simple cocktail where it can really shine.

Buy now

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