Gin Cocktails

Gin is the ultimate cocktail spirit! Due to the many different flavors from fruity-floral to strong-savoury, diverse Gin varieties complement each other harmoniously with diverse fillers, garnishes and also other spirits. Gin is not usually enjoyed neat. No other spirit has been and is used to develop as many drinks as Gin!

And this does not come by chance: Gin is by its various combinations of botanicals for itself so individual that it does not need many other ingredients and fillers for a fancy cocktail. One of Germany's most renowned bartenders, Charles Schumann, who runs the internationally known Schumann's in Munich, once stated, "If I had to choose a single spirit, it would definitely be Gin." After all, Gin can be combined in many ways, not only with Tonic Water, but also with other soft drinks, juices and syrups. It even complements eggs and cream in a surprisingly harmonious way. Gin blends well with light alcohol in cocktails, such as the 'Martini Dry': The so-called 'king of cocktails' consists of Vermouth Dry (usually 15-20%), Gin and a green olive or a slice of lemon - depending on taste. The ratio of Vermouth to Gin varies greatly, again depending on taste and recipe. The Dry Martini was a popular drink long before James Bond: shaken or stirred - opinions and preferences differ. While James Bond prefers his Martini "shaken, not stirred," some bartenders prefer it stirred. Shaking can cause small pieces of ice to break off, creating bubbles and making the drink appear cloudy.

Martini with Isle of Harris Gin
Martini with Isle of Harris Gin

One of the most popular long drinks is undoubtedly the Gin & Tonic. In the course of the 2010s, it has become increasingly popular. While at the end of the 20th century there were only a handful of Gin and Tonic varieties from which to choose for one's mix, in the years that followed a wide range of different Gin varieties with different botanicals as well as dozens of Tonic Water brands and varieties have appeared on the market. Mixing what was once a simple long drink has become a science in itself. In addition to the 'classic' Tonic Water, there are now also differentiated flavours such as 'dry', 'floral & fruity' or 'spicy'. Originally, Tonic Water - like Gin itself, by the way - was a medical beverage: During the colonial period in India, it was recommended that English soldiers regularly drink the water, which contained a lot of quinine, to prevent malaria infections. Because the Tonic Water at that time tasted very bitter due to its high chinine content, the soldiers began mixing it with Gin from their homeland to mellow it out. Fun fact: quinine is also responsible for Tonic Water glowing in black light. Gin and Tonic is usually garnished with a slice of cucumber, lemon or berries.

Gin & Tonic
Gin & Tonic

Simple and yet unforgettably good, the Gin Fizz is one of the International Bartenders Association's 'Unforgettables'. It is a well-shaken sour made of Gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup, topped up with a shot of sparkling soda water and served with a fresh slice of lemon.

The list of ingredients for the refreshing Tom Collins afternoon drink is quite similar to Gin Fizz: Gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and soda water. The differences between the two Gin Cocktails are small but subtle and still today divide the bar scene. While Gin Fizz is served without ice in a smaller tumbler or Fizz glass, Tom Collins is enjoyed from a slightly larger 'Collins glass' filled with ice cubes. Tom Collins probably owes its name to the brand Old Tom Gin often used for the drink in the 19th century.

A world-famous before-dinner drink is Gimlet. The stirred cocktail made with Gin, lime syrup and a slice of lime is as simple as it is effective. In the Gimlet, the Gin portion is greater than the syrup portion, while the so-called Marlowe's Gin Gimlet contains equal parts Gin and syrup. This variation is named after the novel character Philip Marlowe, who was embodied among others by Humphrey Bogart in 'The Big Sleep'. The English navy physician Sir Thomas Desmond Gimmlette (1857-1943) allegedly invented the cocktail to make the daily ration of naval medicine "navy strength Gin at 57% vol" more enjoyable, which, among other things, was supposed to fend off scurvy.

A creamy drink for the evening is Gin Alexander: It is shaken from Gin, white Crème de Cacao chocolate liqueur and cream. The digestif was first mentioned in 1916 in the notes of a New York bartender; today's better-known version with Brandy or Cognac instead of Gin was created much later. In the 1920s, with Prohibition in the U.S., the production, transport and sale of any alcoholic beverages were prohibited, so that Gin was illegally compounded in many private households. Consequently, the quality of Gin available in the United States also declined. Chocolate liqueur and cream were well suited to drown out the less convincing taste of cheap Gin in cocktails. Prohibition passed, Gin got better and yet the Alexander cocktail remained popular. As a result, it is still a classic and a sweet treat.

Singapore Sling was invented in Singapore, but it is now a world-renowned classic in the international bar scene. The long drink consists of Gin, cherry liqueur and Bénédictine herbal liqueur. Depending on the recipe, sweet and sour juices and syrups such as lemon or lime juice, pineapple juice, grenadine, Angostura bitters or soda water are added. The drink was first served in a Singapore luxury hotel in the early 20th century. The bartender Ngiam Tong Boon developed various recipes of the Singapore Sling and kept them in his safe, which can still be seen today in a museum together with a handwritten scribbled recipe note.