4 Gin Cocktails for Summer
What is it about cool, crisp gin that makes it a natural for summer cocktails? Maybe it’s the pine-like breeze of juniper, or the refreshing hint of citrus.
Or maybe it’s simply gin’s versatility. Now more than ever, there’s a gin—and a gin cocktail—for every taste, not only in summer, but year-round.
“Gin features prominently in classic cocktails,” says Chaim Dauermann, head bartender at New York City’s Gin Palace, which (as the name suggests) specializes in gin drinks. The bar is in part a nod to the lavish gin watering holes popular in England in the early 19th century.
“But the recent explosion in gin has resulted in an exciting array of options within the modern cocktails category,” Dauermann says. “There’s a gin to fit almost every sort of cocktail you can dream up.”
Dauermann says this is just the beginning. “The new gin boom seems to still be in its early stages. It will continue to mature as more people return to gin, and others come to realize how approachable it actually is.”
Playwright Noël Coward once said, “A perfect martini should be made by filling a glass with gin and waving it in the general direction of Italy.”
While the following gin-based summer drinks are slightly more reliant on other ingredients than Coward’s, they are no less celebratory of the spirit. Each showcases one of gin’s myriad styles.
Photos by Aaron Graubert
A few months spent resting in oak casks add a golden glow and a whiskey-like flourish of vanilla and spice to gins in this up-and-coming category.
The Urban Cowboy
Recipe courtesy Lori Buhl, bar manager at The Hightower, Austin, Texas
Essentially, this is an old-fashioned recipe that uses barrel-aged gin in place of (also barrel-aged) whiskey for a bright, vanilla-edged variation. Waterloo, a Texas-made gin, fits right in with Hightower’s straightforward locavore vibe.
1 sugar cube
3 dashes Bar Keep Chinese Bitters (Angostura may be substituted)
1-inch piece of orange peel
2 ounces Waterloo Antique Gin, or other barrel-aged gin
Luxardo Maraschino cherry
In a rocks glass, muddle the sugar cube and bitters with 1 teaspoon of water. Add the orange peel and muddle gently, just enough to release the orange oil from the peel. Add gin, cherry and ice, and stir to chill.
Also try Watershed Bourbon Barrel Gin, St. George Dry Rye Reposado Gin, Chief Gowanus Traditional New Netherland Gin
Recently revived by history-minded producers, this 19th-century throwback is full-bodied, malty and often lightly sweetened.
Recipe courtesy Mike Ryan, head bartender at Sable Bar & Kitchen, Chicago
This classic cocktail, a forerunner of the martini, is typically made with old tom-style gin, yielding a rich, full-bodied cocktail. Here, Ryan lightens things up by adding a splash of London dry gin to the mix.
1¼ ounce Ransom Old Tom Gin, or other old tom-style gin
¾ ounce Beefeater London Dry Gin, or other London dry gin
¾ ounce sweet vermouth, like Carpano Antica
¼ ounce Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Twist the lemon peel to express the oils over the surface of the cocktail and either discard or use it to garnish.
Also try Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, Tanqueray Malacca, Sound Spirits Old Tom Gin
This juniper-forward classic evokes tennis whites and pitchers of gins and tonics on the terrace.
Recipe courtesy Mayur Subbarao, beverage director of Louro, New York City
The classic French 75 cocktail calls for a London dry gin. In this case, the sharp pungency of juniper stands up to assertive flavors like blood orange and bitter Campari, yielding a colorful cocktail just right for brunch or other special occasions.
1 ounce Jensen’s Bermondsey Gin, or other London dry gin 1 ounce fresh blood-orange juice, or Pür Likör Blood Orange Liqueur
¼ ounce Campari
½ ounce simple syrup
Prosecco, for topping
Blood orange wedge, for garnish
Shake the first four ingredients with ice and strain into a Champagne flute. Top with the Prosecco and garnish.
Also try Bombay Sapphire, Bulldog London Dry Gin, Tanqueray No. Ten
Lighter on the juniper than London dry, these gins often feature creative botanicals, like local flowers, spices or herbs.
Recipe courtesy Wil Schultz, manager of Merchants, Nashville
In this drink, the floral botanicals of St. George’s Botanivore Gin and elderflower-spiked St-Germain liqueur meld into a cool, fresh drink that evokes a spring breeze.
1½ ounce St. George Botanivore Gin, or other new western gin
½ ounce St-Germain liqueur
½ ounce lemon juice
¼ ounce simple syrup
Cucumber slice, for garnish
Mint sprig, for garnish
Shake all ingredients, except garnishes, with ice, then strain into a rocks glass with 3 large ice cubes. Garnish with a cucumber slice and mint sprig.
Also try Aviation Gin, Greenhat Gin, Hendrick’s Gin.
- 3Old Tom
- 4London Dry
- 5New Western