Of all the hard liquors in the world, gin is by far my favorite. The first time I ever tasted gin was when my grandfather let me have the dregs of his gin and tonic. I was instantly smitten with the refreshing and stimulating pine taste. In college kamikazes on ice was my drink of choice, so for a while vodka was my number one. But then as I got older and “more sophisticated” I remembered how much I adored G & Ts and have left vodka on the bar cart. As the years have progressed, I have tried a myriad of gin cocktails, and have decided that these are my three favorite classic gin cocktails.
I don’t remember the first time I had a sloe gin fizz, but I do remember being thrilled with the sweet and tangy flavor. It was kind of like a gin and tonic, only a bit sweeter and more complex. Sloe gin is made from soaking sloe drupes, a type of fruit related to the plum, in gin mixed with sugar. After a few months the gin turns a bright beautiful glistening red and the flavor of the gin is fruitier and sweeter than a standard gin. I would love to try making my own sloe gin, but I have never seen sloe drupes for sale here in California. I am guessing they are more of a back east type of fruit. If you would like to try a sloe gin fizz at home, here is the standard recipe:
Sloe Gin Fizz
- 2 oz Sloe gin
- 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp simple syrup
- club soda
In a shaker, mix together the sloe gin, juice, simple syrup, and ice. Shake for 30 seconds until combined. Pour into a highball glass and fill the rest with club soda. If a stronger drink is desired, add 1 oz regular gin before you mix it all together.
As I mentioned previously, my favorite drink of all time is the gin and tonic. However I found this recipe that elevates the classic gin cocktail by the addition of elderflower cordial. (As a side note, am I the only one who thinks of when Anne Shirley accidentally gets her best friend Diana drunk off of plum cordial in Anne Of Green Gables every time they hear the word “cordial? No? Must just be me.) The addition of the elderflower cordial gives the drink a decidedly more feminine and perfumey flavor which pairs perfectly with the lime juice.
- 2 oz gin
- 1 oz elderflower cordial. I use St. Germain.
- tonic water
- A squeeze of lime
In a shaker, mix together the gin and cordial with ice. Shake for 30 seconds then strain into a cocktail glass. Add tonic water to taste and a squeeze of lime.
For the last classic gin cocktail, I decided to go a little more modern. I adore the flavors of watermelon and cucumber together and I thought they would taste wonderful together with some gin. It turns out I was correct! I found this recipe and adapted it because I don’t own a muddler. This is the perfect drink while sitting out on the front porch, or relaxing by the pool.
Watermelon Cucumber Cooler
- 1.5 oz gin
- 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
- 1/2 of a peeled and deseeded Persian cucumber
- 1/2 cup cubed watermelon
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- soda water
In a blender, liquefy the watermelon and cucumber. If you need to add some liquid to make the blender work, try the simple syrup. Once the blender has worked it’s magic, strain the juice into a highball glass filled with ice. Add the gin, lime juice, and simple syrup if you didn’t use it in the blender and top with the soda water. Stir to combine.