Five ways to drink gin

Gin is such a gloriously versatile poison that it’s difficult whittling my top choices down to five. I’ve even had to bump two of my favourites (the gin & mixed and the journalist) to another upcoming post. In the meantime, here are five different ways to enjoy your juniper juice.

1. Like a hard-nut – pink gin

I know, the name ‘pink gin’ doesn’t exactly scream machismo. But consider that this old-school naval sharpener is actually just a slosh of seasickness-soothing Angostura bitters swimming in a whole lot of gin. Helps the medicine go down, allegedly.

2 oz gin
1 good dash Angostura bitters

Stir over ice then strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

2. Like a purist – Martini

The purist would say that the less vermouth you put in a Martini, the better. There are loads of variants, but whatever you choose, the worst sin in my book is to let the ice dilute it too much before you pour it. You can’t go wrong if you take James Bond’s advice: ‘I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made.’

2 oz gin (at least)
1 dash dry vermouth
1 dash olive brine (optional, if you want to make it a ‘dirty Martini’ – my favourite)

Stir well over ice or shake and strain. Serve in a martini glass, garnished with an olive or a twist of lemon peel depending on taste.

3. Like you’re on the grand tour – gin sling

The perfect accessory for a crumpled linen suit and an imperialist world view. There are a million recipes for a gin sling, and likewise for its sub-species, the Singapore sling. For my money, a Singapore sling is a grand thing to order in a bar when someone else is making it, but far too complicated to mess around concocting for yourself. Equally, being a cheapskate and substituting the cherry brandy for grenadine is a shame. Try this mix.

2 oz gin
1 oz cherry brandy
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz sugar syrup
Soda water

Shake the spirits, lemon and syrup over ice, then strain into a highball glass. Top up with chilled soda water and garnish with a cherry and a swizzle stick.

4. Like it’s the 1920s – golden Bronx

Some years ago, at a friend’s wedding, I sat next to a delightful old lady from New York who remembered Prohibition. She told me how her old man used to get beer on the sly once a week, bringing it home camouflaged in a large swing-top milk flask. Most people, though, seem to have got round the ludicrous legislation by drinking rough spirits, camouflaged by creative recipes, and this is one of my favourites (even though it apparently pre-dates Volstead). Tender souls may be put off by the egg yolk.

2 oz gin
1 oz orange juice
1 dash dry vermouth
1 dash sweet (red) vermouth
1 egg yolk

Shake over ice then strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a cherry or an orange slice (or both)

5. Like a hipster – Negroni

Hipsters get a bad press. Lumberjack shirts, big beards, 1960s specs and hoppy beer all seem good calls to me. Another thing we can thank them for is the revival of the Negroni, a delicious cocktail that fell out of fashion for years.

2 oz gin
2 oz sweet (red) vermouth
2 oz Campari

Pour over ice in a tumbler. Stir well and garnish with a slice of lemon or orange.

What about you? Any favourites? Any criminal omissions in this list? Let me know using the contact button or the comments.

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