Gin is more popular than ever, so it’s a good time to learn some simple serving options to take it to another dimension. You don’t need any fancy equipment for my speedy gin cocktails – even a jam jar will do as a shaker. It’s all about the love you put into the preparation.
To get you started, here are a few tips to boost your cocktail-making confidence:
- The key to making drinks is the balance between sweet and sour/bitter. Try not to let one element overpower the other.
- Taste your drinks before you serve to make sure they’re wonderful.
- If serving over ice, fill your glass to the top with the stuff.
- Ensure your garnish is fresh and stacked close to the straws.
- Remember that we drink in three steps, with our eyes first, then with our nose and finally with our mouth.
As a general rule I recommend using 50ml of gin for each cocktail unless otherwise stated. If using a liqueur, too, I tend to drop to 40ml gin and use 10ml of the liqueur. Use fresh citrus juice and balance 20ml of that to 15ml of sugar syrup that’s been made from equal parts sugar and water (you’ll find a recipe at the bottom of the page).
10 quick and easy gin cocktails
Short and fragrant. Big love to the late, legendary bartender Dick Bradsell, its creator.
20ml sugar syrup
20ml lemon juice
10ml crème de mure
berries or lemon zest, for garnish
Take a large measure of dry gin and shake together with the lemon and sugar syrup, pour over crushed ice and drizzle the crème de mure through the drink. Garnish with a lemon zest or some fresh seasonal berries. A true party pleaser.
Party time! This one uses smaller amounts of spirits to allow the fizz to flourish.
10ml orange liqueur
fizz of your choice, for topping up
Mix the gin, orange liqueur and lemon juice in a flute and top with chilled bubbly. Continue to party like it’s 2099.
Fresh and fruity. If you’ve not made your own elderflower cordial, you can buy it from most big supermarkets now.
10ml sugar syrup
10ml elderflower cordial
soda, for topping up
Shake the gin with the lemon, sugar and a dash of elderflower cordial. Pour over rock ice and lengthen with the soda. Decorate with a sprig of your favourite herb. If you’re feeling like a true vagabond then top with sparkling wine to make an elderflower royale.
Sloe gin fizz
Give wonderfully wintry sloe gin a mean cocktail kick.
50ml sloe gin
20ml lemon juice
20ml egg whites
Shake together the sloe gin, lemon, sugar syrup, a rosemary sprig and the fresh egg white with ice. Then, shake without the ice to ensure maximum frothage. Serve straight up in a wine glass with a slapped rosemary sprig aloft.
Italians believe you need to drink three of these before you begin to enjoy them (not in one night though):
25ml sweet vermouth
1 strip orange zest
Pour the gin, vermouth and Campari into your favourite rocks glass over ice. Stir it down to your preferred taste. Then, zest the orange with true Italian flair over the glass and add to the potion. Forget minutes – you can make this in seconds…
Stirred NOT shaken.
vermouth, to taste
A martini all about personal preference. The key elements to success are ensuring your vermouth is fresh, gin is quality and the garnish is appetising. Stir your required amount of gin (here I’ve used 60ml) with however much dry vermouth you like: the more you use the more herbal it will be. Stir to taste – it’s about finding the perfect dilution. Don’t be afraid to garnish your masterpiece with something that might seem peculiar either – personally I take two pickled onions. Ensure your glass is frozen and the liquid smooth. James Bond, who?
What shall we do with the drunken sailor? Note that your cordial can be shop-bought or homemade and it’s fun to mix it up with the seasons.
25ml cordial (we used lime)
This ratio of two parts gin to one part cordial dances in the glass. Stir down, pour into a glamorous coupe and garnish how you please. I enjoy a slapped sage leaf.
Tiki-style. This one has a quadruple booze hit. You can buy almond syrup online – the most common brand is Monin, which is used to flavour coffee as well as cocktails.
40ml orange juice
20ml lemon juice
15ml almond syrup
Combine the gin, brandy, rum, freshly-squeezed orange and lemon juice, then add the almond syrup to really funk things up. Shake well and add the sherry to top. Garnish with anything fun you can lay your hands on and serve tall over ice.
The headline act. A gin and tonic evolves into something far more complex with the right twists.
lots of ice
a big copa glass (a large, balloon-shaped glass)
natural tonic water
your favourite garnish
Celebrate this piece of heritage with a glorious serve, always using one part gin to two parts tonic. Check out my favourite makeover blends by reading my guide to 10 gin and tonics with a twist or discover even more inspiration in Good Food’s gin and tonic recipe collection.
Also known as a mojito, gin-style.
15ml sugar syrup,
6-8 mint leaves.
Drop the gin, fresh lime juice, sugar syrup and the mint leaves into your shaker then get your arms moving. Fine-strain it into a posh martini glass that’s been chilled. Hold the ice. Garnish with one slapped mint leaf.
Quick sugar syrup recipe
Bring one part sugar and one part water together and heat in a pan. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved. If you want to go the extra mile, you can flavour this with fresh herbs, citrus zest and spices.
More on gin
The best gins – taste tested
The best classic gins – taste tested
Video: How to make your own sloe gin
10 gin and tonics with a twist
Our favourite gin cocktail recipes
All you need to know about gin
Gin and tonic recipe collection
The best sloe gin recipes
How do you like your gin? Leave a comment below…