When do you reach for the bottle of gin? Odds are, when you need a G&T after a sweltering day, or when you’re shaking up a refreshing drink with spring and summer fruit.
But even though gin, like its fellow clear spirits, is an obvious (and intelligent!) choice for warm weather, it can shine in winter drinks, too. Here are three of our favorite gin cocktails ideal for colder days and nights.
Easy: Gin Old Fashioned
Wait, sorry — gin Old Fashioned? Usually, we associate an Old Fashioned with whiskey, and gin with an equally simple classic, the Martini. But when done properly, gin can work in the spirit-sweetener-bitters-citrus formula, too. Here, we’re using a gin that’s already robust flavor-wise — the strongly floral Nolet’s — and pairing it with a bit of honey to match that floral character, orange bitters (Angostura would be overwhelming), and two big citrus peels. Stiff but totally sippable.
Instructions: In a mixing glass with ice, combine 2 ounces Nolet’s Silver Dry gin, 1/2 an ounce of honey syrup (equal part honey dissolved in hot water), and 3 dashes of orange bitters. Stir all that up until well-chilled. Strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with two orange peels, twisting over the surface of the drink to spray their citrus oils on top.
Intermediate: The Martinez
The origin story of the Martinez is a little unclear, so we’ll just tell you the version we like — that the cocktail is an intermediary between the whiskey-sweet vermouth Manhattan and gin-dry vermouth Martini, and named for the California Gold Rush town Martinez. Some versions are made with Old Tom gin; we love a Martinez made with gin’s predecessor, genever too.
In this case, we’re using a full 2 ounces of Plymouth’s Navy Strength gin — “navy strength” means it’s up at 57% alcohol, so this one is guaranteed to warm your insides.
Instructions: In a mixing glass with ice, combine 2 ounces of Plymouth Navy Strength gin, 1 ounce Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, 1/4 ounce of Luxardo maraschino liqueur, and a dash of Angostura bitters. Stir all that up until well-chilled. Strain into a coupe. Garnish with a lemon peel, twisting over the surface of the drink to spray its citrus oils on top.
Advanced: Blood Orange & Cranberry
You often see gin paired with standard citrus (lemon and lime) or summer fruits — so why not combine it with winter fruits? Blood oranges are in season right now, and a bit of cranberry pairs beautifully (and amps up that vivid red hue). Note that we’re using 100% cranberry juice here, the super-tart kind, so this drink stays dry and refreshing. As for the gin? Give Brooklyn Gin a try here, a small-batch spirit that steeps the fresh peels of five different citrus fruits during production.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 1.5 ounces of Brooklyn Gin, one ounce of blood orange juice, 1/2 an ounce of 100% cranberry juice, 3/4 ounce of simple syrup, and 1 dash of orange bitters. Shake all that up until well-chilled and strain into a tall glass with fresh ice. Top with a splash of club soda. Garnish with half-moons of blood orange slices, and stick a straw in this guy too.