20 Best Gin (Modern, Classic, and Weird) Cocktails for Bartenders

Gin. People either hate it or they love it. And where does all that polarizing flavor come from? Not by the hair on my ginny-gin-gin.

It actually comes from juniper! A floral-smelling little berry that brings the botanical punch to gin that everyone knows and loves (or totally hates).

What To Mix with Gin (Flavors, Fruits, and Herbs)

While juniper berries are the base for gin, you can mix things up, literally, quite easily by adding different flavor profiles. Typically, our instructors at Local Bartending School have a go-to list. Let’s find out!

  • Fruits. Like lemon, lime, berries, or oranges.
  • Herbs. Mint, thyme, chile.
  • Flavors. Earl Grey Tea, tropical notes, vermouth.

From the classic gin martini to Singapore Slings, we’ve got you covered on all the best gin cocktails you need to know how to make and the flavors worth sharing.

Whether it’s your first day behind the bar or you’ve lost count of them, keep up with the latest and greatest (and easiest), even the weirdest, gin recipes. Plus, get the details on the best variations used by industry professionals.

1. Gimlet

Recipe via Liquor.com | Image via Canva

Gimlets gained popularity in the 1950s, so they are classic cocktails with an interesting sidebar. You will be surprised at how easy it is to make, as well as how balanced it is with sweet and tart flavors and the aroma of gin.

There are people who say a real gimlet has to have lime cordial. But to that, we say what’s a fake gimlet, anyway?

Try this mint orange version for those of you in hot climates, spring, or seasons! The refreshing level is out of the park on this one.

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces gin
  • .5 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • .5 ounce simple syrup
  • Lime wheel, garnish

Instructions

  • Shake the lime juice, gin, and simple syrup with ice in a shaker. In a chilled glass, strain over fresh rocks and garnish using lime.

2. Gin Fizz

Recipe via The Spruce Eats | Image via Canva

What do you get when you add soda to sour? A fizz.

This specific fizz, the Gin Fizz that is, reared is bubbly little head in 1876.  It’s packed with protein for those of you who might have health-conscious regulars at your bar.

As usual with most sour drinks, the egg white is totally optional and actually replaceable by the ever-performing aquafaba.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin
  • .75 ounce freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • .75 ounce simple syrup, 1:1 ratio
  • 1 small or medium egg white, optional
  • 2 ounces soda water, or to taste
  • Lemon peel, garnish

Instructions

  • Grab gin, citrus juice, simple, and your thickener (egg or replacement) and shake in a tin. Use a dry shake for a thicker mix. Over fresh rocks, strain into serving glass. Soda to top and garnish with citrus peel.

Here’s a tip: If you want to replace citrus juice and simple syrup, try a good sour mix. Emphasis on good.

3. Negroni

Recipe via The Forked Spoon | Image via Canva

Can you tell me what the difference is between an Americano and a Negroni?

Each contains equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth, but the big kicker is that Negroni uses gin instead of soda. It was actually the Americano that led to the Negroni back in the 1920s. Legend has it that Camillo Negroni ordered gin to go into his Americano and thus the Negroni was born.

How true is this? No idea! What is true is that Campari is red because of bugs. Up until 2006. They use artificial dye now. Go figure.

Simple and easy to make with no fancy equipment, this is a classic Italian cocktail. Which makes it great for practicing and memorizing new cocktails.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • Orange peel, garnish

Instructions

  • Mix the vermouth, gin, and Campari with ice in a mixing glass or shaker. Shake or stir until chilled. Strain over fresh rocks and add garnish.

4. Gin Martini

Recipe via The Spruce Eats | Image via Canva

Martinis have a long, dated history. Sweeping from the early 1900s, when gin was popular, to the mid-century vibes when vodka took over. Now? It’s like Burger King at your bar, they can have it their way.

A gin martini, when I was first starting out, was easy to learn. The biggest part was learning why vermouth is so important to a cocktail. Go ahead! Try this with and without vermouth to see what’s up.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 ounces gin
  • .5 ounce dry vermouth, or to taste
  • 1 dash orange or aromatic bitters, optional
  • Lemon twist or 1 or 3 olives, garnish

Instructions

  • Add the gin and vermouth to an ice-filled mixing glass, and adjust the vermouth according to your tastes. Stir until cold. Then strain into a chilled glass. If you want, add a dash of bitters. Add a lemon twist or olives as a garnish.

Warning: Never use an even amount of olives! Can be seen as bad luck from your guest and bad luck usually means a bad tip.

5. Bee’s Knees

Recipe via Reserve Bar | Image via Canva

This cocktail is the bee’s knees! Literally and figuratively.

I like this drink so much because it’s a refreshing afternoon in a glass. Plus, you can easily make this super quick which is a good suggestion when you’re already weeded behind the bar.

Channel major chillage by adding lavender syrup for a welcomed variation.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin
  • .75 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • .75 ounce honey syrup (2:1 ratio honey to water)
  • Lemon twist, garnish

Instructions

  • In a cocktail shaker, mix gin, fresh lemon juice, and honey with ice. Into a chilled coupe glass, double strain the cocktail. You can squeeze some oils out of the lemon peel by turning the yellow side over the glass. Then, garnish with the lemon twist.

6. Gin & Tonic

Image via Canva

What can I say about a good ‘ole G&T? It’s fizzy, herbal, and easy to both make and drink.

It also was created to fight off malaria, but that’s a different story. Simply put, the quinine in tonic water treated the disease and folks put citrus juices, and of course, gin, to give it a more pleasant taste. Alas, the gin and tonic.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin
  • Tonic water
  • Lime wedge or wheel, garnish

Instructions

  • Add ice, gin, and tonic water to your glass. Garnish with your fresh cut lime.

7. Gin Sour

Recipe via Liquor.com | Image via Canva

Remember the Gin Fizz? Without the soda, you’ll get a Gin Sour.

Classic sour drinks use a spirit, lemon or lime juice, and a sweetener. It’s optional to add a frothing element such as egg white or aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas), which adds a lovely foamy texture to the drink. You can then garnish with bitters.

This one plays well with others so try flavor infusions like chamomile, blood orange, blueberry, watermelon, or hibiscus.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • .5 ounce simple syrup
  • .5 ounce egg white (or aquafaba for a plant-based variation)
  • Lemon twist and Angostura bitters, optional garnish

Instructions

  • Using egg white or aquafaba, add the gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white to a shaker and shake well (without ice). Add ice and shake again until well-chilled (If using egg white or aquafaba, skip this step). Then strain into a coupe glass. Add a lemon twist for garnish. When using egg white or aquafaba, you could add 3 to 5 drops of Angostura bitters to the frothy top.

8. Last Word

Recipe via NYT Cooking | Image via Canva

The Last Word almost never got its last word when it nearly went extinct. Now, it’s back with a vengeance.

Grab a nice mezcal to bring a smokey note variation to this classic gin cocktail.

Ingredients

  • .75 ounce gin
  • .75 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • .75 ounce green Chartreuse
  • .75 ounce lime juice

Instructions

  • With ice, shake all ingredients. Then strain into a chilled coupe.

9. Corpse Reviver

Recipe via A Couple Cooks | Image via Canva

Why is it known as a Corpse Reviver? There are several cocktails that bear the name Corpse Reviver: signifying that their strength was sufficient to bring corpses back from the dead.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 ounce Cointreau (or Grand Marnier)
  • 1 ounce dry vermouth
  • .5 teaspoon absinthe
  • Orange, garnish

Instructions

  • Shake the gin, lemon juice, Cointreau, dry vermouth, and absinthe together in a cocktail shaker with ice. Then strain into a glass. You can garnish with a wedge of orange or an orange peel.

10. Gin Rickey

Recipe via Liquor.com | Image via Canva

No sugar? No problem. The Gin Rickey is built for those who like things dry and sour.

There’s a story that rickeys were invented at Shoemaker’s in D.C., a hangout for Congressmen. A lobbyist who entertained elected officials at the bar gave Gin Rickey its name.

Add Chambord for a raspberry lime rickey. You can also sneak in a dash of bitters or even absinthe.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin
  • .5 ounce lime juice
  • Club soda
  • Lime wheels, garnish

Instructions

  • Pour the gin and lime juice into a highball glass filled with ice. Top off with club soda. Served with lime wheels.

11. Greyhound

Recipe via The Kitchen Magpie | Image via Canva

It’s a bus, it’s a dog—no it’s a cocktail!

Lovers of a Paloma or otherwise tart drinks will have a new favorite. The Greyhound is simply gin (or vodka) and grapefruit juice. Quick, easy, and straight to the point. Perfect for brunch.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 4 ounces grapefruit juice
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup

Instructions

  • In a cocktail shaker, add ice cubes. Then add the gin, simple syrup, and grapefruit juice. Shake well and strain into a glass.

12. Pegu Club

Recipe via Black Tail NYC | Image via Canva

The Pegu Club, named after its British home, is essentially a Gin Sour but without the egg whites and with bitters. It made a bit of an exit with the end of Prohibition but made its way back into our arms in the last ten years or so.

An added splash of Cointreau or orange curaçao will create a modern twist on this classic gin drink.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces of gin
  • .75 ounce orange liqueur
  • .5 ounce lime juice
  • Bitters
  • Lime, garnish

 

Instructions

  • Add all the ingredients to an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime.

13. Singapore Sling

Recipe via Liquor.com | Image via Canva

Where does this fruity gin cocktail get its name? An educated guess would tell you it started in Singapore and turns out, that’s exactly right. Little else is known, so let’s just move on to the recipe… (the ingredients are always up for debate, too.)

Ingredients

  • .75 ounce gin
  • .25 ounce Benedictine
  • .25 ounce Grand Marnier
  • .25 ounce Heering cherry liqueur
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • .5 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Club soda
  • Orange slice and cherry, garnish

Instructions

  • Shake the gin, Benedictine, Grand Marnier, cherry liqueur, pineapple juice, lime juice, and bitters in a shaker filled with ice to chill them well. Over fresh ice, strain the cocktail into a highball glass and top with club soda to serve. Garnish with orange slices and cherries.

14. Ramos Gin Fizz

Recipe via Punch Drink | Image via Canva

Thanks to Mr. Ramos of New Orleans we have this one-of-a-kind sip that’s been around for hundreds of years—for good reason.

What’s not still around is the 15 minutes of shaking required to get that frothy head the Ramos Gin Fizz requires. You can get it done in under a minute. The real question is whether or not you opt for the dry shake method or not.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin
  • .5 ounce lemon juice
  • .5 ounce lime juice
  • .5 ounce simple syrup (1:1, sugar:water)
  • 3 dashes orange flower water
  • 1 ounce cream
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 ounces soda water
  • Orange wheel, garnish

Instructions

  • In a cocktail shaker, combine all the ingredients except soda. Give it a good shake without ice. Add ice and shake again. Then strain into a Collins glass and top with soda. Garnish with a half orange wheel.

15. Southside

Recipe via Sidewalk Shoes | Image via Canva

Named after the south side of… which city? The world may never know. What we do know is this gin cocktail needs to be in your book of recipes.

Make sure you treat the mint gently. An aggressive thrashing will emphasize the bitter notes of the herb instead of its sweet aroma. You can double-strain the drink to make sure that no mint bits get into your drink and get stuck in your guest’s teeth. Awkward.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin dry
  • .75 ounce lemon juice freshly squeezed and strained
  • 2 teaspoons simple syrup
  • 6 mint leaves plus more for garnish

Instructions

  • Add gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and mint leaves to a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Shake well. Strain into a glass, garnish with mint.

16. Tom Collins

Recipe via Liquor.com | Image via Canva

If you were on the hunt for a super traditional gin drink to learn, stop your scrolling. You’ve found it.

Dating back to the late 1800s, gin drinkers will know you’ve been classically trained in the art of behind the stick.

Bring our friend Tom Collins to modern times by using elderberry flower for an impressive variation.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces London dry gin
  • 1 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • .5 ounce simple syrup
  • Club soda
  • Lemon wheel and maraschino cherry, garnish

Instructions

  • Add the lemon juice, gin, and simple syrup to an ice-filled Collins glass. Top with club soda and stir. Serve with a lemon wheel and maraschino cherry.

17. Gordon’s Breakfast

Recipe and Image via Thirsty Camel Cocktails

Not all gin cocktails are classically simple and delicious. It’s 2022, folks and we like to make things zesty and a little spicy.

Bloody mary, take a seat. There’s a new brunch cocktail in town and their name is Gordon, Gordon’s Breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz dry gin
  • 6 lime wedges
  • .75 oz simple syrup
  • 3 thin cucumber slices
  • 4 dashes of hot sauce
  • 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  • Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled on the outside. Strain into a chilled rocks glass over fresh ice, as always. Garnish with a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper.

18. Gin Basil Smash

Recipe via Moody Mixologist | Image via Canva

You all should know by now (and if you don’t, can I ask where you’ve been?) that I love me some basil. But when it’s paired with gin? Twist. My. Arm. I’m sure your regulars will feel the same way.

Why am I so obsessed? The green color! Super festive for St. Patrick’s Day, warm brunches, April 20th, or a green lover’s birthday!

You’ll want to use plenty of basil, to the point where you feel like it’s too much.

Night getting the right color? Could be your muddler!

Ingredients

  • 2 oz gin
  • .75 oz fresh lemon juice
  • .75 oz simple syrup
  • 10-12 basil leaves

Instructions

  • Muddle the basil leaves and lemon juice together in a cocktail shaker. Fill 3/4 of the shaker with ice, and add the gin and syrup. Shake the liquid until chilled, then strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with basil leaves or basil flower (yes, basil flowers).

19. Bramble

Recipe via Our Salty Kitchen | Image via Canva

Creme de Mure and floral gin dance together in a Bramble to bring your guest’s mouth a refreshing treat on those hot, summer days.

The keys to brambles are perfectly crushed ice, fresh sexy blackberries, and your smile of course.

For a polished poise or variation for a romantic event, try adding rose syrup or liqueur or even a berry jam.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • .5 oz simple syrup
  • .5 oz crème de cassis, or chambord
  • Lemon wheel, for garnish
  • Fresh blackberries, for garnish

Instructions

  • Add some ice to a cocktail shaker and mix gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake it up until it’s frosted. Put crushed ice in a rocks glass. Strain the gin mixture over the ice. Pour in the Chambord or creme de cassis slowly. Let it settle. Then garnish with fresh blackberries and lemon wheels.

Crushing Crushed Ice: Place ice cubes into a gallon-sized ziplock bag. Lay the bag onto a counter, cover with a kitchen town, then pound the ice with a rolling pin until crushed. This method works well for larger quantities of ice.

20. Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew

Recipe via The Gin Queen | Image via Canva

Last on our list of gin cocktails is Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew, a creative concoction you won’t forget anytime soon.

Making its way from London, by a gentleman (you guessed it) named Pete, this blended beauty was born out of a gin competition and stands to be a best-selling hangover fix at Hawksmoor.

Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew puts a whole new standard on a beer and a shot for us industry folks.

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces gin
  • 2 ounces lemon juice
  • 2 ounces ginger syrup
  • 4 ounces Pale Ale

Ingredients

  • All ingredients except beer should be blended for several seconds with a few rocks. Into a chilled glass, strain the blended mixture, then top with beer.

Honorable Ment-gins List:

Don’t Gin Wish Your Cocktails Were Hot Like These?

Mastering gin cocktails isn’t as hard as it seems – no need to go growing your own juniper trees. It’s actually as easy as reading this article. Local Bartending School offers online certifications that you can earn from the very seat you’re sitting on.

No berry harvesting required.

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Carrie Jean Lipe

Carrie Lipe has been writing creatively since childhood but jump-started her professional writing after college. She's an Indiana native, Ball State Hospitality graduate, and a bartender with over 10+ years in the industry. You can find her making basil Moscow mules when she's not writing. Follow her professional journey on Instagram! @contentbycarriejean

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