Our Best Gin Cocktails for More Than Just Martinis

I.e., how to have a bright, botanical summer

With flavor ranging from herbaceous to floral to fruity, we adore crisp, bitter gin. Its beautifully complex flavor can stand alone as well as it can pair with a wide variety of ingredients. When it comes to elegant, refined cocktails, the martini will always have a place among the greats. At its most basic, this classic cocktail is simply a mixture of gin and dry vermouth. Our dry martini recipe uses equal parts gin and vermouth and adds orange bitters and an orange twist for garnish. While most martinis are gin-heavy or contain equal parts gin and vermouth, our upside-down martini mixes gin and vermouth in a 1:2 ratio.

One of the most refreshing cocktails around is the ever-riffable gin and tonic. The requisite ingredients are gin and bitter, quinine-tinged tonic water. Like a martini, there is a lot of room for variation. Los Gintonic is a strong Spanish gin and tonic made with bitter lemon tonic. If you're feeling ambitious, elevate your gin and tonic by making your own tonic water. For the loveliest of spring cocktails, pair seasonal fruits with gin, whose herbal notes can stand up to tart and sweet flavors. In the Merchant's Wife, gin works with Aperol and lemon juice to keep watermelon juice from becoming cloying. In the autumn gin brightens up our autumnal, rosemary-scented pear Collins.

For Your Home Bar: 11 Exceptional Gins to Drink

From classic cocktails to newfangled creations, we've rounded up our favorite gin cocktail recipes to shake and stir today.

Gin Campari Sour
Gin Campari Sour
Sometimes we like cocktails to have a bit of an aggressive bite; other times, we're looking to round them out a bit. Gin, Campari, and lemon are three ingredients that pair beautifully, but all have their sharp edges. Adding an egg white helps mellow and integrate these flavors without muting them, while also contributing a silky texture and an opacity that's quite elegant in a vividly colored drink. Get the recipe for Gin Campari Sour »Matt Taylor-Gross
Carolina Blues Blueberry Cocktail
Vivian Howard Blueberry Sauce Cocktail
A long, cooling cocktail, the Carolina Blues follows the classic Tom Collins blueprint, swapping simple syrup for shrub, soda for prosecco, and lemon juice for lime. The blueberry shrub in this recipe is actually North Carolina chef Vivian Howard's blueberry barbecue sauce, which she uses to glaze chicken, but its makeup is similar enough to a shrub that it can pull double duty. If you don't have time to make Howard's barbecue sauce, you can buy it here. Alternatively, you can quickly make a proto-shrub by simmering a couple of cups of mashed blueberries with a cup of cider vinegar for ten minutes, then strain and bottle it for future cocktail endeavors.Matt Taylor-Gross
Bee's Knees
Bee's Knees
The phrase the “bee’s knees” was used in Prohibition times as slang to mean “the best.” This cocktail, a gin sour that’s believed to have been created around that time, used lemon and honey to mask the harsh smell of bathtub gin. If your guest wants something refreshing with gin, look no further.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. Get the recipe for Suffering Fools »Matt Taylor-Gross
Martinez
Martinez cocktail
In the 1880s, Old Tom gin, a style with quite a bit more sweetness than London dry, was just beginning to gain popularity in America. This is the drink that put it over the top. Get the recipe for Martinez »Laura Sant
The Last Word
The Last Word Cocktail
Equal parts gin, chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, and fresh lime juice, this is an old-fashioned cocktail that feels awfully modern. Its equally-portioned ingredients make for easy scaling: mix up a triple or quadruple batch to serve several drinkers at once. Get the recipe for The Last Word »Matt Taylor-Gross
Bermuda Hundred
Bermuda Hundred Cocktail
Beth Dixon, bartender at Pasture in Richmond, Virginia, describes this fun cocktail as the lovechild of a Mai Tai and a Negroni. Get the recipe for Bermuda Hundred »Matt Taylor-Gross
Garden Kitchen Sink Gimlet
Garden Kitchen Sink Gimlet
This boozy gin cocktail uses up an abundance of mint, cucumber, and blackberries—it's summer in a highball. Get the recipe for Garden Kitchen Sink Gimlet »Matt Taylor-Gross
Sakura Martini
Sakura Martini
Tokyo native Kenta Goto of Bar Goto in New York City has elevated the once-maligned saketini to a state of floral elegance by mixing Plymouth gin with oak-aged Junmai sake, sweet maraschino liqueur, and salted cherry blossoms. Get the recipe for Sakura Martini »Matt Taylor-Gross
Gallagher Smash
Gallagher Smash Cocktail
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. Get the recipe for Gallagher Smash »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. Get the recipe for The Verbena and Mint »Matt Taylor-Gross
308 Peaches
Peaches 308 Cocktail
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. Get the recipe for 308 Peaches »Matt Taylor-Gross
The Gardener
Gin and Agave Cocktail
Barkeep Joe Petersen of Percy's restaurant in Seattle spikes this verdant cocktail with an "immunity tincture." Get the recipe for The Gardener »Joseph De Leo
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. Get the recipe for Quick Like a Bunny »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. Get the recipe for The Poddington Pea »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. Get the recipe for 99 Problems But An Herb Ain't One »Matt Taylor-Gross
The Fascinator
The Fascinator Cocktail
This cocktail, which comes from the Savoy Cocktail Book, adds a touch of absinthe to the traditional martini. Get the recipe for The Fascinator »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. Get the recipe for Water Lily »Laura Sant
Conquistador
Conquistador Gin and Tonic
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. Get the recipe for Conquistador »Ingalls Photography
Masala Martini
Masala Martini
Cumin and salt add pungent flavor to this twist on a gin gimlet from chef Manish Mehrotra of New Delhi restaurant Indian Accent, located in The Manor boutique hotel in New Delhi's tony Friends Colony neighborhood. Get the recipe for Masala Martini »Ingalls Photography
Mother-of-Pearl
Mother of Pearl Cocktail
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. Get the recipe for Mother-of-Pearl »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. Get the recipe for Queen Victoria Tonic »Ingalls Photography
Plymouth Gin Tonic
Plymouth Gin Tonic
Sweet-tart strawberries and spicy peppercorns make for a fruity twist on the classic gin and tonic. Get the recipe for Plymouth Gin 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. Get the recipe for Los Gintonic »Ingalls Photography
Negroni
Negroni
This classic cocktail couldn't be simpler—it's simply even parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. Get the recipe for Negroni »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. Get the recipe for Dill Gin and Tonic »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. Get the recipe for Bar Code Tonic »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. Get the recipe for Upside-Down Martini »André Baranowski
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. Get the recipe for Cool Confusion »Farideh Sadeghin
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 Tonic »Todd Coleman
The Merchant's Wife
The Merchant's Wife
A bright mix of watermelon, gin, Aperol, lemon juice, and a splash of club soda, this cocktail from Stella Rosa Pizza Bar in Santa Monica sidesteps the normal pitfalls of watermelon-based cocktails, which tend to veer to the overly sweet. Get the recipe for The Merchant's Wife »Maxime Iattoni
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. Get the recipe for The Charleston Fizz »Khushbu Shah
Sweet Gin Symphony
Sweet Gin Symphony
This lively gin-based punch captures complex seasonal flavors with layers of citrus, mint, and anise thanks to an absinthe rinse sprayed in each glass. For an added festive touch, garnish with star anise fruit. Get the recipe for Sweet Gin Symphony »Maxime Iattoni
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. Get the recipe for Sencha Sour »Helen Rosner
Salty Dog
Salty Dog Cocktail
Vodka is the traditional spirit for this bright, briny cooler, but gin adds a wonderful, aromatic dimension. Get the recipe for Salty Dog »Ingalls Photography
The Last Word
The Last Word
Equal parts gin, chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, and fresh lime juice, this is an old-fashioned cocktail that feels awfully modern. Get the recipe for The Last Word »Todd Coleman
Gin-Gin Mule
Gin-Gin Mule
This Moscow Mule variation is made with gin and mint. Get the recipe for Gin-Gin Mule »Ingalls Photography
The Pretty Tony
The Pretty Tony Gin and Tonic
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. Get the recipe for The Pretty Tony »Ingalls Photography
The New Airline
The New Airline
Cool, mild cucumber and sweet elderflower liqueur echo gin's floral notes in this cocktail, served at Atmosphere, the bar on the top floor of the tallest building in Beijing. Get the recipe for The New Airline »Maxime Iattoni
Viking Martini
Viking Martini
Bottled in the same spot in Iceland, brisk, dry Martin Miller's Gin and tannic, spruce-flavored Björk liqueur make a great duo, particularly matched with bitters and an herbaceous Alpine amaro in this layered drink meant to evoke northern climes. Get the recipe for Viking Martini »Farideh Sadeghin
The Big Red
The Big Red
Grapefruit juice and cinnamon-infused syrup bring bright, spicy balance to the wallop of navy-strength gin, a variety with an extra-high alcohol content. Get the recipe for The Big Red »Todd Coleman
Kumquat Rose
Kumquat Rose Cocktail
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. Get the recipe for Kumquat 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. Get the recipe for The Killer B »Helen Rosner
Original Dry Martini
Original Dry Martini
A London dry gin can stand up to a lot more vermouth than you might suspect. The original 1910s-era formula for this iconic drink demonstrates that fact elegantly. Get the recipe for Original Dry Martini »Andre Baranowski
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. Get the recipe for Thandai »Nidhi Chaudhry
Horse & Carriage
Horse & Carriage
New York City bar The Daily serves this lightly sweet, effervescent gin-based punch made with chamomile tea and sparkling wine. Created by mixologist Naren Young, it was inspired by classic holiday punches but is easily adapted to any season—try it in fall garnished with apples, pears, and cinnamon sticks; in winter with citrus slices and pomegranate; and in spring with edible flowers. Get the recipe for Horse & Carriage »Farideh Sadeghin
Brother James
Brother James Cocktail
Cardoon-flavored Cardamaro and dry gin play off the vermouth's botanical notes, while celery bitters boosts the drink's herbaceousness. Get the recipe for Brother James »Ingalls Photography
The Cheshire Regiment
The Cheshire Regiment
This spin on the French 75 uses a base of both gin and a raspberry-infused cognac. Get the recipe for The Cheshire Regiment »Maxime Iattoni
Sicilian 75
Sicilian 75
Campari and blood orange juice give this twist on the French 75 a beautiful color. Get the recipe for Sicilian 75 »Ingalls Photography
Don't Kill My Vibe
Don't Kill My Vibe
This gin-based drink gets a refreshing spicy-tart flavor from the addition of pineapple vinegar and bitters. Get the recipe for Don't Kill My Vibe »Eilon Paz
The Monkey Gland
The Monkey Gland
Credited to Harry McElhone, the famed proprietor of Harry's New York Bar in Paris where the Bloody Mary originated, the Monkey Gland is a classic 1920s cocktail that balances gin and fresh orange juice with a splash of Absinthe and a little pomegranate grenadine. Get the recipe for The Monkey Gland »Laura Sant
Ford's Model Tea Party
Ford's Model Tea Party Cocktail
Charles Joly of Aviary in Chicago presents a pot of Earl Grey tea beside this cold cocktail, dropping dry ice into the tea to create an aromatic steam that fragrances the air as you sip. Even without the tableside theatrics, the home version is wonderful. Get the recipe for Ford's Model Tea Party »Ingalls Photography