Summer Gin Cocktails

When summer hits, gin dominates our bar

When summer hits, we turn to clear spirits for our cocktails. And of all clear spirits, gin is king. Complex, slightly bitter, and refreshing, gin is made for summer. There's nothing we crave more on a hot day than an effervescent gin and tonic or delightfully astringent Negroni. We've rounded up our favorite summery gin cocktail recipes.

Few cocktails are as easy and refreshing as the gin and tonic. At its most basic, this highball is nothing more than aromatic gin and bubbly, quinine-flavored tonic water with a lime garnish. From there, it's easy to create variations on the drink. Try adding a little vermouth or a healthy dose of Angostura bitters. If you're feeling ambitious, try making homemade tonic water—you'll need citric acid, cinchona bark, and flavorings of your choosing.

Another classic gin drink is the Negroni, a sweet-and-bitter mix of equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. Like the gin and tonic, the basic recipe lends itself to experimentation. For a brighter drink, replace the vermouth with Lillet Blanc and add lemon juice. The Contessa is another step removed from the Negroni, swapping the Campari for Aperol and the sweet vermouth for dry.

Bitter gin pairs naturally with sweet summer fruit. In the Merchant's Wife, watermelon juice is tamed by gin and Aperol. For a variation on the gin fizz, a mixture of gin and seltzer, add juicy plums and fresh basil. Our Plymouth Gin Tonic pairs the spirit with sweet strawberries, but also spicy peppercorns for extra depth.

Find all of these drinks and more in our collection of summer gin cocktail recipes.

Gallagher Smash Cocktail
Gallagher Smash
For this summer refresher, Eric Johnson of Sycamore Den in San Diego makes a syrup with ripe watermelon and sugar, then combines it with sherry, gin, and muddled lemon.Matt Taylor-Gross
Suffering Fools
Suffering Fools
This bourbon and gin drink from wd~50 and Alder mastermind Kevin Denton is inspired by the Suffering Bastard, a classic cocktail developed during in Cairo during WWII.Matt Taylor-Gross
Bermuda Hundred Cocktail
Bermuda Hundred
Beth Dixon, bartender at Pasture in Richmond, Virginia, describes this fun cocktail as the lovechild of a Mai Tai and a Negroni.Matt Taylor-Gross
The Verbena and Mint
The Verbena and Mint Cocktail
Bar manager Jon di Pinto of Street ADL in Adelaide, South Australia, combines lemon verbena and gin for a crisp, refreshing summer cocktail.Matt Taylor-Gross
Peaches 308 Cocktail
308 Peaches
A teaspoon of yogurt adds a subtle tang to this summery peach drink from Alexis Soler and Ben Clemons of Bar 308 in Nashville, Tennessee.Matt Taylor-Gross
Quick Like a Bunny
Green Juice Gin and Tonic
Playing on the classic gin and tonic, bartender Stuart Jensen of Denver's Mercantile restaurant adds caraway-flavored aquavit and marmalade to this green version.Joseph De Leo
The Poddington Pea
The Poddington Pea
Peas might seem out of place in a drink, but their vegetal sweetness is perfect for this basil-gin cocktail.Joseph De Leo
99 Problems But An Herb Ain't One
99 Problems Cocktail
Gin, lemongrass, ginger, and kaffir lime combine in this savory cocktail from Alex Straus of LA's E.P. & L.P., who created it to complement the restaurant's spicier dishes.Matt Taylor-Gross
The Fascinator Cocktail
The Fascinator
This cocktail, which comes from the Savoy Cocktail Book, adds a touch of absinthe to the traditional martini.Matt Taylor-Gross
Water Lily
Water Lily
Crème de violette adds sweetness and an arresting purple color to a tart mix of gin, lemon juice, and triple sec in a cocktail based on one from Manhattan bar PDT.Laura Sant
Plymouth Gin Tonic
Plymouth Gin Tonic
Sweet-tart strawberries and spicy peppercorns make for a fruity twist on the classic gin and tonic.Ingalls Photography
Los Gintonic
Los Gintonic
Vermouth adds character to this Stateside riff on the elaborate Spanish-style gin tonic, while a tonic water flavored with bitter lemon balances the aromatized wine’s sweetness. Navy-strength gin stands up to them both.Ingalls Photography
Conquistador Gin and Tonic
Conquistador
At San Francisco's Coqueta restaurant, this fruity gin and tonic is mixed with a homemade citrus-and-fennel tonic and a spiced apple-celery juice, then garnished with fragrant fennel and star anise.Ingalls Photography
Queen Victoria Tonic
Queen Victoria Tonic
This highball uses a homemade tonic infused with raspberry-flavored orris root and peppery, flowery grains of paradise to complement the specific flavor profile of Bombay Sapphire gin.Ingalls Photography
Negroni
Negroni
This classic cocktail couldn't be simpler—it's simply even parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth.Ingalls Photography
Contessa
Contessa
The Contessa, a modern creation of John Gertsen, a bartender at Boston’s Drink, replaces two of the Negroni’s three ingredients: Campari is swapped for the lighter and more orangey Aperol and dry vermouth substitutes for sweet. It’s more like the Negroni’s third cousin than a direct descendant.Ingalls Photography
Dill Gin and Tonic
Dill Gin and Tonic
Navy strength gin adds explosion potency to drinks like this riff on the gin and tonic, which is spiked with dill pickle juice and garnished with citrusy verbena leaves.Ingalls Photography
Bar Code Tonic
Bar Code Tonic
Tonic water derives its bitterness from quinine, a purified substance derived from the bark of the cinchona tree. Paired with gin, tonic water makes for one of summer’s most refreshing cocktails. At Bar Code in Bellevue, Washington, the gin and tonic is made in a unique manner: The gin itself is infused with cinchona bark, citrus, and other aromatics. Then, rather than tonic, soda water is added to make the drink.Ingalls Photography
Upside-Down Martini
Upside-Down Martini
Vermouth hasn't always played second fiddle to boozier spirits; this delicate aperitif, which is 2:1 vermouth to gin, was a favorite of Julia Child's for pre-dinner drinking.André Baranowski
Mother of Pearl Cocktail
Mother-of-Pearl
Brisk and aromatic, celery flavors this savory gin and tonic variation in three ways: in a salt rim, in the bitters, and in the garnish. A fennel frond adds an extra layer of perfume to the drink.Ingalls Photography
Cool Confusion
Cool Confusion
A refreshing marriage between a Tom Collins and a Dark n' Stormy, this lime and ginger beer-spiked gin cocktail has an intriguing herbal undertone thanks to Amaro Abano, a zesty Italian digestif with notes of bitter orange, cardamom, and white pepper.Farideh Sadeghin
Celery Martini
Celery Martini
Fresh celery and lemon juices, Lillet, celery bitters, and gin combine for a clean and vegetal cocktail with a bright green hue.Helen Rosner
The Merchant's Wife
The Merchant's Wife
A bright mix of watermelon, gin, Aperol, lemon juice, and a splash of club soda, this drink from Stella Rosa Pizza Bar in Santa Monica is well-balanced, effervescent, and not too sweet.Maxime Iattoni
Plum-Basil Gin Fizz
Plum-Basil Gin Fizz
Deep and sweet, this cocktail is an ideal vehicle for summer's juicy red plums.Helen Rosner
Ultimate Gin and Tonic
Ultimate Gin and Tonic
Citrus wheels and edible flowers lend beautiful color to a classic gin and tonic. Get the recipe for Ultimate Gin and TonicTodd Coleman
Kumquat Rose Cocktail
Kumquat Rose
A recipe for kumquat-infused gin from Matt Lee and Ted Lee's cookbook The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen inspired this cocktail: the kumquat's sweet-tart flavor is perfectly balanced by the herbaceous complexity of Lillet Rose.Helen Rosner
The Killer B
The Killer B
A play on the classic cocktail The Bee's Knees, The Killer B is a spicy elixir of gin, lemon juice, and a simple syrup infused with Thai bird chiles and white peppercorns.Helen Rosner
Thandai
Thandai
Indian thandai, literally translated as 'something that cools', is a sweet, creamy milk drink flavored with nuts and mixed with spices such as cardamom, fennel, rose petals, and poppy seeds. On Holi, the Indian festival of colors, the refreshment is traditionally served with the addition of bhaang (a derivative of marijuana). Here we've substituted gin instead, which accentuates the nutty, warmly-spiced, floral flavors in thandai perfectly.Nidhi Chaudhry
Bee's Knees
Bee's Knees
Kansas City's Rye restaurant pours this classic, a honey-sweetened gin potion, which gets its effervescence from a splash of rosé champagne.Penny De Los Santos
The Charleston Fizz
The Charleston Fizz
The floral flavor of gin is a natural match for bright grapefruit and elderflower liqueur in a refreshing cocktail. Fresh tarragon adds an aromatic, peppery anise note.Khushbu Shah
Sencha Sour
Sencha Sour
Green tea-infused gin gives depth to this otherwise light, breezy drink, made with fresh yuzu juice, pickled ginger syrup, and soda. Inspired by one served at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida, it's the perfect antidote to the winter doldrums.Helen Rosner
Birds and bees cocktail
Birds and Bees
A syrup made with honey and chamomile tea mellows the fresh lemon juice in a gin cocktail from Juan Coronado of South Beach restaurant The Bazaar.Laura Sant
Salty Dog Cocktail
Salty Dog
Vodka is the traditional spirit for this bright, briny cooler, but gin adds a wonderful, aromatic dimension.Ingalls Photography
El Jefe
El Jefe
Jalapeño and chile-infused bitters add a spicy kick to a fruity cocktail made with muddled strawberries and blueberries.Farideh Sadeghin
Pink Negroni
Pink Negroni
Light, orangey Lillet Blanc and fresh lemon juice brighten a springlike twist on the Negroni. Tarragon and tart, hibiscus-based Burlesque Bitters from Bittermens add floral, herbaceous notes.Zoe Schaeffer
Gin-Gin Mule
Gin-Gin Mule
This Moscow Mule variation is made with gin and mint.Ingalls Photography
The Pretty Tony Gin and Tonic
The Pretty Tony
With a drink as clear and straightforward as a traditional gin and tonic, the addition of bitters can transform the appearance, flavor, and aroma in delightful ways. Here, 10 dashes of Angostura bitters add bright spice to a version from Wingtip in San Francisco.Ingalls Photography