Remember when drinking alone at home was considered to be an antisocial symptom of greater mental health issues? Enter the year 2020—where we now barely distinguish the daytime robes from the nighttime robes, live with the realization time itself is a social construct, and have a personal rewards system of carbs and gin, because honestly, no one is watching, and nothing matters anymore. Yet, as we are all in this together (the proof of this is in every email sent from a company of which you are on a mailing list) sometimes it helps to have a reference of easy and classic gin cocktail recipes and specs to follow. Now, at least that drink you are having at 10am in 3-day old sweatpants will be quite tasty.
1. Classic Martini
The infinitely quotable Dorothy Parker once said of martinis: “I like to have a martini, two at the very most. After three I’m under the table, after four I’m under the host.” This woman knew herself, and also knew her way around a decent gin martini.
- 3 ounces gin
- ½ ounce dry vermouth
- Twist of lemon
Directions: Fill a mixing glass or shaker three-fourths with ice. Add the gin and vermouth and stir with a bar spoon until nice and chilled. (A good at home hack is to also to put the bottle of gin you are using in the freezer a few hours beforehand) Peel one strip from a lemon and swipe the lemon peel around the rim of a martini glass. Fine strain the contents of the mixing glass or shaker into the martini glass and enjoy.
This classic version can of course be modified to taste. You can make it dirty by adding a splash of olive juice and swapping the lemon twist garnish for an olive. As in most arenas, dirtiness level is a matter of preference so add as little or as much as you want. If you want the martini on the dryer side, instead of adding the dry vermouth to the shaker, you can also just swivel a splash of vermouth around the martini glass and dump out the excess. Just chill the gin and pour into the vermouth-rinsed glass. Or, you can go full Churchill, but just stirring the gin while just glancing briefly at the vermouth, but never actually add it. I personally like a botanical heavy gin (such as a St. George Botanivore, Botanist, or Uncle Val’s) as opposed to the classic London Dry style, and I add a dash of hopped grapefruit bitters and garnish with grapefruit peel.C.M. Moorhead
Also known as the James Bond martini. I don’t call it this as he famously orders it “shaken, not stirred” which is inherently incorrect. A good bar rule is if the drink you are making is all booze—stir it. Otherwise you just ordered watered down gin, which would probably be embarrassing if found out amongst your espionage community.
- 3 ounces London dry gin
- 1 ounce vodka
- ½ ounce Lillet
- Twist of lemon
Directions: Add all contents to a mixing glass with ice and stir for 20 seconds (or if you admire Mr. Bond too much to deviate from his guidance, you can add to a shaker and shake for 10 seconds)
Vesper specs can vary. I make mine like this, but you can also do 2 ounces of gin as opposed to 3 as to make not so hefty a drink. This still provides a balanced drink while still helping thwart international super-villains.C.M. Moorhead
3. French 75
Need a pick me up? Add some bubbles. This classic, created during World War I, was named after a French 75mm field gun. Talk about a shot to the head.
- 2 ounces gin
- ¾ ounce simple syrup*
- ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
- 2 to 3 ounces champagne
*simple syrup is equal parts sugar and hot water stirred well until sugar is dissolved. ½ cup sugar and ½ cup hot water make enough simple for 8-10 cocktails. Simple syrup lasts forever and is a good bar staple to have stocked.
Directions: Add the gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and fine strain into a champagne flute or coupe. Top with the remaining champagne. Garnish with lemon peel if you have some leftover from the martinis.
The French 75 is great for daytime drinking or nighttime drinking. It’s versatile like that. If you feel like expanding, I also love adding a splash (about ¼ ounce) of St. Germain. You can also substitute cognac for gin if that’s what you have stocked.C.M. Moorhead
Do you want the feel of drinking a Manhattan but can’t handle whiskey? Boy, is this the cocktail for you.
- 1 ½ ounces old tom gin
- 1 ½ ounces sweet vermouth
- ¼ ounce Luxardo Maraschino
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- Twist of orange
Directions: add old tom gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino, and bitters to a mixing glass with ice and stir for 20 seconds. Fine strain contents of mixing glass into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with orange peel.
An old tom gin is a gin that is slightly sweeter than a London dry, so it was made for a Martinez. This is not to say you can’t use whatever gin you have on hand; old tom is just preferred. For the sweet vermouth I would recommend something like a Punt ‘e’ Mes, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, or Carpano Antica.C.M. Moorhead
5. Gin & Tonic
Because, let’s be honest, there’s no stirring, no shaking, and the current climate definitely nurtures your instinct to just dump gin in a glass and be done with it. I’m here for you.
- 1 ½ to 2 ounces gin
- Premium tonic water to taste
- Lime wedge
Directions: Pour gin over ice in rocks glass and add tonic to taste. Garnish with lime wedge.
I say tonic to taste, as sometimes you just want a splash, and sometimes you want a refreshing thirst-quencher while sitting on a front porch, you know, when we can go outside again. Limes are the classic garnish for a reason, but feel free to spruce it up with other citrus fruit, or even add some botanicals such as a sprig of rosemary, a leaf of sage, or a pinch of loose chamomile tea.C.M. Moorhead
I hope these recipes help, and cheers. It has to be 10am somewhere.