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Rules for Mixing Gin

While vodka simply disappears into a drink, gin, which has a more assertive flavor, is a little trickier to blend. When a combination is successful, though, it attains a level of complexity that’s impossible with vodka. Some guidelines for home bartenders.
  • Try aromatic mixers The botanicals in gin make it a natural match for aromatized wines (vermouth, Lillet), bitter spirits (Campari) and concentrated bitters (Angostura, Peychaud’s or orange bitters).
  • Use fresh citrus juices Most gins are flavored with orange and lemon peel; for that reason they work well in cocktails that contain sweetened citrus juice.
  • Chill the drink thoroughly The best way to compare brands of gin is to taste them at room temperature, but mixed gin drinks should be icy cold. Use plenty of ice and chilled club soda or tonic (keep bottles in the refrigerator) and, if using a shaker, shake it until it is almost too cold to hold.
Published August 1999
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