Our Best Gin Cocktails for More Than Just Martinis

Cocktail recipes to make all year long

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

Carolina Blues Blueberry 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. Get the recipe for Carolina Blues Blueberry Cocktail »

Gin: 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. Get the recipe for the Bee’s Knee’s cocktail »

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 »

Martinez

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 »

The Last Word

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 »
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 »

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 »

Sakura Martini

Sakura Martini

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. Get the recipe for Gallagher Smash »

The Verbena and Mint

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 »

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. Get the recipe for 308 Peaches »

The Gardener

Barkeep Joe Petersen of Percy’s restaurant in Seattle spikes this verdant cocktail with an “immunity tincture.” Get the recipe for The Gardener »

Quick Like a Bunny

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 »

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

99 Problems But An Herb Ain’t One

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.

Water Lily

Water Lily

Conquistador

Conquistador Gin and Tonic

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.

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. Get the recipe for Mother-of-Pearl »

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.

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 »

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 »

Negroni

This classic cocktail couldn’t be simpler—it’s simply even parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth.

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.

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.

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 »

Ultimate Gin and Tonic

Ultimate Gin and Tonic

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. Well-balanced and pleasantly effervescent, the mild astringency of the Aperol tugs back at the melon’s sweetness and reignites the gin, elevating this brightly-hued cocktail to the heights of sophistication.

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.

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.

Salty Dog

Vodka is the traditional spirit for this bright, briny cooler, but gin adds a wonderful, aromatic dimension.

The Last Word

Equal parts gin, chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, and fresh lime juice, this is an old-fashioned cocktail that feels awfully modern.

Gin-Gin Mule

This Moscow Mule variation is made with gin and mint. Get the recipe for Gin-Gin Mule

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.

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. With notes of apple, lime, and a bit of heat from fresh ginger, it has an effect talmost like a spa in a glass. Get the recipe for The New Airline

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.

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. See the recipe for The Big Red »

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 »

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.

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.

Brother James

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 »

The Cheshire Regiment

This spin on the French 75 uses a base of both gin and a raspberry-infused cognac.

Sicilian 75

Sicilian 75

The Monkey Gland

The Monkey Gland