Gin Recipes

Gin Bramble

Named after the bush its finish comes from, this festive cocktail is one of those special drinks that just goes with that little black dress and that sport-jacket and tie.  She’s a cocktail party drink and one that won’t keep you behind the bar much longer than it’ll take Nat Cole to sing The Christmas Song.  A little bit sweet, a little bit sour, a little bit potent.  This will be a December hit.

Here we go –

  • 1 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
  • drizzle of Crème de Cassis or blackberry brandy or liqueur

Pour ingredients, except blackberry,  over ice in a rocks glass. Drizzle with a bit of the blackberry booze and float a couple berries in the drink as garnish.


Christmas Martini

Christmas martini

Figured I’d kick-off with this one. It’s an easy drink to mix and you can make up a batch ahead of time if you’re having guests over. This was the first purely Christmastime cocktail I ever tried, and I still love it during the holidays. The peppermint flavor makes it a strictly seasonal drink but one most will really enjoy.

Here we go –

  • 3 oz Gin or Vodka (I prefer gin)
  • ½ oz Dry Vermouth
  • 2 capfuls Peppermint Schnapps

Shake with ice ‘til North Pole cold, strain into one of those Christmas Martini glasses you picked up on sale last year and garnish with a peppermint stick or candy cane.


I first tried this after reading the recipe in the July/August 2009 issue of Imbibe magazine and really liked it. It was like summer in a glass. To make the called- for honey-syrup, just stir a cup of honey into a cup of hot or just boiled water till dissolved. Let mixture cool to room temperature & refrigerate. It’ll last a couple months in your bar fridge.

Here we go –

  • 1 ½ oz Gin
  • ¾ oz lime juice
  • 1 oz apple juice
  • ½ oz honey syrup
  • 2 fresh torn basil leaves

Shake in a cocktail shaker with ice till very cold and strain into cocktail glass or over rocks in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a fresh basil leaf.

Gin Shandy

For me gin is to spring as rum is to summer, as bourbon is to winter, and as apple brandy is to fall. Not to say that seasons have positively their own spirits, they just have flavors more conducive to work with during various times of the year. Gin tends to work with the softer flavors of spring — the berries, the herbs, the soft sweets and subtle sours. Gin, in many cases, already has an herbal, juniper berry, musky flavor that reminds my palate of April, so I choose to just add to that. The Gin Shandy’s a really easy one. You’ll need a pitcher and at least one friend to share it with. I float whatever berry happens to be on sale at the time in mine.

Here we go –

  • 3⁄4 cup gin
  • 1 cup lemonade
  • one 12-ounce bottle ginger beer

Gently stir the three ingredients together in a pitcher. Pour over ice in tall glasses and float raspberries on top.

There you have it folks. I realize that you’re busy with spring cleaning and yard tidying but do take an evening soon to enjoy the spring. We’re pre-bug outdoors, yet the evenings can be handled with a light jacket or sweater. Put on some Jack Jones, Ella or Sinatra on the portable player, invite a few friends over, and enjoy one of these perfect spring cocktails. Remember to check out the Mr. Booze recipe list for additional ideas.

Gin Rickey

I’m a DC boy, born and bred, and have purposely hesitated from discussing this drink ’cause just so damn much has been written about it. Heck, in DC, entire weeks and contests are devoted to the Rickey and “hep” variations of her. I’m not one for trends, and loathe when bastardizations of classics are wheeled out by pork-chop side-burned hipsters who tweak, grate, fuse and fluff flavor of the month ingredients into the Rickey. I know there are different kinds, yet I still always go back to my gin. The Waldorf Hotel history of the Gin Rickey is but a google click away, if you so desire…as are flower infused, cucumber, and honey-watered styles, too. If you want to sip a not-sweet, soured commitment to streamlined cocktails in your home bar as the sun takes longer to set each evening, then the classic is a mere 3 ingredients away.

Here we go –

  • 2 oz good London dry gin
  • The juice and rind of a halved lime
  • seltzer water

Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice. Add the gin then squeeze the 1/2 lime over the drink. Plop in the lime rind then fill to top with seltzer. A little stir with a stir stick then consume. Well, there you go, easy enough to make for a few friends while the lamb is on the grill.

Orange Collins

You’re going to need to find orange blossom water for this drink, but it’s out there and closer than you might think. I found mine in the Middle Eastern section of a hip grocery chain that carries the odd products more uncommon at the local grocery. If you live in a city or close to one, chances are you’re near a shop that caters to cooks or culinary explorers. The brand I found was “Cortas.” You may want to start there. These flower waters are surprisingly strong so don’t over pour or you’ll feel like your dinking more perfume than cocktail. This is a gorgeous spring cocktail, basically a Tom Collins with an orange tinge that will usher springtime onto your patio.

Here we go –

  • 2 1/2 oz gin
  • 2-3 tsp simple syrup (to taste)
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz orange blossom water
  • orange slice, club soda

Gently shake the gin, lemon juice & simple syrup together. Strain into a tall, ice-filled glass with a bit of room left at the top. Pour orange blossom water, then club soda to fill. Gently stir once or twice and add your orange slice and straw.

(If you’re feeling daring, substitute rose water for orange blossom water, but use a little less rose.)

Mr. Booze on Bulldog Gin

I was recently provided with a bottle of this English gin for review and wanted to share my reaction with you guys.  I cracked it a few months ago, and since I tend to really rotate the spirits and brands I quaff, I just now laid the empty bottle to rest out in the glass bin. With each drink I poured using Bulldog, I tried to recall, sometimes successfully and without fog the next day, my experiences with the gin.  Here are my overall and positive reactions.

The bottle itself is my biggest complaint.  I know some love the look of it – a dark smoky-black one with an incorporated spiked bulldog collar around the neck.  I find it almost too bold a statement like a too-hep twenty-something sporting too much ink and facial hair. The Bulldog barks atop your bar. I want a bottle that sits, pops a little, yet stays quiet till you need her.  There, there’s my whine.  Bottle doesn’t really thrill me….but the gin inside, now that’s another story.

When I cracked the bottle and took a strong whiff, the nose of the gin wanted me to immediately make a martini. The juniper used in distillation, along with eleven other botanicals from eight countries, was subtle and delicious.  Bulldog smells special, and the perfume of a spirit usually crosses over into the drink.  Bulldog’s woodsy, flowery-sweet scent also settled into my drinks which I appreciated.

I am happy to write that these smells of nature (lavender, poppy and pine) made their way into the smooth taste of the gin.  When I poured my Noilly Prat French Dry Vermouth into the pitcher with my Bulldog, along with a couple shakes of orange bitters, the resulting martini carried a pretty friendly, yet complex, gin flavor into the pool.  One of the better martinis I’ve ever tasted.  Of course, some credit has to be given to my amazing martini-making skills – just thought I should mention that (wink).

Bulldog is quadruple distilled in the UK, so harshness is not an issue.  I found this robust gin to be as smooth as any I’ve tasted.  Within its first week on my shelf, I made a martini, a gin ‘n tonic and a gibson.  Bulldog played well with the standards, but would she hold up with the juices and sours?  I found out.

Tom Collins is a quiet fave of mine, and I insist that he’s made old-school with fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, club soda, fruit and lots of discernable gin.  I want my gin to stand up and out in my juice cocktails. The glow one gets after a couple well-made gin hi-balls is appreciated, sure…but not as much as the botanicals and the smack of a gin that works in concert yet holds its own.  Bulldog works in a collins, a pink lady, a vesper martini and a gin bramble. I know ’cause I made ‘em all with the Bulldog.

Look for this gin. It would be a nice starter gin for the vodka or white wine drinker you know, yet it stands beautifully complex enough for the serious cocktail lover to appreciate, and that aforementioned novice to stay with, as he/she grows into gin cocktails.  Running between $25 & $30 a bottle, this is a pretty affordable gin.  Keep your eyes peeled for it.


Here’s a quick and easy cocktail that calls for just two ingredients, tastes delicious, and is perfect for a drink before dinner or before stepping out for the evening. I like this drink a lot. Even though there’s a healthy dose of sour in this cocktail, the spirit can still be tasted and even stands out. The Gimlet, unlike other drinks on this site can be made and mixed in under a minute. The drink dates back to around 1930.Here we go –

  • 2 ounces Gin (Vodka can be substituted but I prefer the Gin version)
  • 1 ounce Roses Lime.

Pour the two ingredients in a short glass (Old-Fashioned) filled with cracked ice. Stir then garnish with a wedge of lime. Be careful with this one, they’re tasty.