Gin Cocktails

This time of year is without a doubt my favorite. The mid evening smells in the neighborhood of charcoal grills mixed with the staticky radio waves of double plays in the bottom of the fourth. It's a time for sitting outdoors and in that case, you need drinks that are easy to assemble and easy to refill for those extra innings. What comes to mind as a base spirit for these backyard cocktails is everyone's favorite flavored vodka—gin. By taking a high proof neutral spirit and redistilling it always with juniper and sometimes with cassia, coriander, lemon peel, orange peel, and other botanicals you end up with a very nuanced yet bracing spirit that works best in zingy cocktails.


The Aviation


One of the pickiest gin drinks out there and the one that will convert even the strictest "no gin" drinker.

2 ounces gin
½ oz maraschino liqueur
½ oz lemon juice

¼ oz simple syrup
Rinse glass with Creme De Violette

Add your ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Knock it around for longer than you think you would need to by a few seconds. This drink needs a little extra dose of water from the ice. Strain through a mesh strainer into a coupe glass that has been rinsed with Creme De Violette so a small puddle remains and squeeze a grapefruit peel over the drink.


I'd recommend ordering this at a bar to watch the technique. Then tip well and ask if you could sneak away with an ounce or two of the Violette in a dropper bottle that you provide. No bar goes through that stuff very fast as you only need tiny amounts at a time and no person should ever go through a bottle in their lifetime at home. The purple stuff can and should be shared.


The New Tom Collins


In a collins glass filled with ice add:

1 ½ oz of gin
¾ oz lemon juice
½ oz simple syrup
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters

Top with very carbonated water like a cold Topo Chico. Give it a jostle with a spoon (or butter knife, chopstick, hell even a clean finger) and drink through a straw.


Intro to Aperol


This easy shaker drink always gets smiles. The main ingredient, Aperol, is lower in alcohol (read: good for sipping before 5pm) and less bitter than Campari.

2 oz Aperol
1 oz gin
¾ oz lemon juice

1 dash of Angostura Bitters

A tiny splash of simple syrup (if Aperol is too bitter for you)

Shake the heck out of it and strain into a coupe. Hit it with a grapefruit peel and then fee feel to light up the grill.

Choosing a Bottle

When picking a gin, don't break the bank for a pretty bottle but don't scrape the bottom of the bin either. Look for a quality spirit made locally or opt for solid standbys.