Gin Classics

Get to know gin with these historical and classic gin cocktails.

gin and tonic with mint
Gin and Tonic with mint, if that’s your thing.

Gin and Tonic. Or Gin Tonic, depending on where you live. This is the quintessential classic gin cocktail. Does this simple and understated cocktail have a reason to be at the top of this list? YES, it does. You can absolutely savor the delicate flavors of your chosen gin in this drink.

Gin and Tonic

This classic gin cocktail is simple and elegant – three ingredients strong.  Use your gin of choice, and have fun experimenting with modern tonics to enhance your gin’s flavors.  

Go easy or heavy on the lime to taste.  

Use this simple formula to create amazing and simple Gin and Tonic cocktails suited just to you. 


  • 1 Part Gin
  • 1 to 2 Parts Tonic Water
  • 1 Wedge Lime or not.


  • Start with a chilled glass.  Toss any ice that you were using to chill your glass and add new. 

    gin and tonic with lime
  • Measure and pour your gin right into your vessel of choice.
  • Top off with your tonic. Many single serve tonics are just the right amount for a jigger of gin, however, add as much tonic as you like to taste.
  • Finish with some lime. Options include a fresh squeeze of lime and the wedge tossed in. You can also just add a wedge of lime.
  • If you want to skip the juice and focus on the citrus oil, it’s easy. Slice off some rind to twist over your glass, or twist and then rub along the rim of your glass. You can also toss the rind into your libation.
  • Enjoy! Responsibly, of course!

Gimlet. Tart and tangy, the gimlet is every lime lovers choice for refreshment and a buzz. Do you add some simple syrup if you have a sweeter disposition? Perhaps.

The Gimlet

The Gin Gimlet, a classic gin cocktail with citrus and sugars. Designed to ward of scurvy, it's a lovely shaken gin libation with a touch of tart and sweet. If you absolutely love mouth pucking tartness, leave the sugars out of it.


  • 2 parts Gin
  • 3/4 part Fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 part Simple syrup


  • Add ice to your favorite shaker.
  • Lovingly, add your gin, lime juice, and simple syrup.
    Substitute Rose's lime for fresh lime and simple syrup if you want to save a few things to wash.
  • Now shake the hell out of it. Generally speaking, shake all cocktails that have citrus. There are exceptions, this is not one of them.
  • Strain into a martini glass or coupe (scandalous!) glass of your choice.
  • Add a garnish of your choosing if you dare. The traditional garnish is a lime wedge.
    Go for subtle flavor and add a cucumber, go for color and add raspberries, go for camp and add an umbrella.

Gibson. It’s dry, with a touch of brine, and oh so powerful. You could turn this gin cocktail into a snack with enough pickled onions, and I encourage you to do so. This is, perhaps, my favorite gin cocktail of all time. Or just the time I’m typing this.

The Gibson

The classic gin cocktail, the Gibson, is three ingredients strong and packs a whollop of flavor and brine. Travel back to pre-prohibition and enjoy this gin classic.


  • 2 parts Gin
  • 1/2 part Vermouth ***make it dry vermouth for a more pungent flavor, use sweet vermouth if you like that lollipop sweetness. Use more or less to your liking.
  • 57 brined onions Not really 57, unless you LOVE the brine. One or two is just fine.


  • Chill you cocktail glass. The freezer, with ice, or upside down in a vat of ice cubes.
  • Find the fanciest cocktail stirring glass you can and add your gin and vermouth.
  • Add about 1/2 cup ice.
  • Stir. Hopefully, that part's obvious.
  • Strain into your martini glass.


You have the option of adding vermouth to the glass and swirling around, then tossing the excess if that’s your preference for a more gin forward cocktail.
Do be aware of the brined pearl onions that you add, some are swimming in sweet vermouth and will add too much sugar to your cocktail. Unless you’re into that.
For brine weirdos out there, two things. One, I salute you. Two, pour a little brine in your cocktail stirring glass with your gin and vermouth. Or a lot of brine.

There are also some fancier and more complicated classic gin drinks.

Gin Martini. This is somewhat similar to the Gibson, just as powerful, but with an option for olive or lemon twist. Go for this if you want the punch but not the brine in your straight-up gin cocktail.

Three olive Gin Martini. Apparently, olives in a cocktail should be in odd numbers.

The Gin Martini

The classic gin cocktail, the Gin Martini, uses only gin and vermouth to make this potent punch of a cocktail. Dress it up with different vermouth styles, or add your own special garnish instead of the traditional olives.


  • 2 1/2 Oz. Gin
  • 1/2 Oz. Dry Vermouth
  • 1 or 3 Olives
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters


  • Start with a chilled glass, a martini glass if you have one. But really.
  • Combine your gin and vermouth, and perhaps your bitters, in a stirring container with ice.
  • Stir for about 30 seconds or so.
  • Strain into your freshly chilled martini glass.
  • Garnish with an odd number of olives or a lemon twist.

Negroni. Ah, the Italians created a bitter masterpiece with this classic gin cocktail. If ever there was a gin cocktail that might make someone hate gin, this is it. But really it’s the Campari that makes it oh so distinguished.

The Negroni

The classic gin cocktail, the Negroni, began in Italy. Perhaps it's the world's most bitter apéritif, but who cares. It's dry, it's delicious, it has a healthy slice of orange, it preps you for a lovely meal.


  • 1 part Gin
  • 1 part Campari
  • 1 part Vermouth Use the sweet or semi-sweet red Vermouth here.
  • 1 Orange slice


  • Gather your liquid ingredients into a cocktail stirring glass. Save the orange for snacking and garnishing.
  • Add ice and stir. So far, so simple.
  • Strain into a rocks glass over some fresh ice.
  • Add your orange wedge garnish.


How is the garnish prepared? Depends.
In Italy, the only Negroni cocktails I had included a sliver of orange tucked down the side of the glass.
Other places, I’ve seen a wedge on the edge of the glass, or a simple orange peel.
If you want to add more pungent orange oil flavor, skip the wedge or sliver of orange and go right for the rind. Twist your orange peel over your cocktail, run along the edge of the glass, toss it in your glass, do all three if you like.

Tom Collins. Imagine being on a boat, relaxing your day away, and wanting to enjoy some sort of light and refreshing alcoholic cocktail all day long. And all night long. The Tom Collins is for you, then, the epitome of boat cocktails. And also, please don’t Captain when you’ve been Tom Collins-ing.

Tom Collins gin cocktail ingredients. Make it fresh squeezed for better boat time.

The Tom Collins

Lemonade, fizz, and gin make up the Tom Collins classic gin cocktail.


  • 2 Oz. Gin
  • 3/4 Oz. Lemon juice Do squeeze your own for the best possible taste.
  • 3/4 Oz. SImple syrup
  • 2 Oz. Club soda Try seltzer if that's what you have.


  • Chill your Collins glass! Either pop it in the freezer, let it sit filled with ice, or dunk in a bucket of ice. Empty any ice before your ingredients are added.
  • Add your gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup to a shaker. Top with ice and shake vigorously.
  • Strain into your Collins glass, which now has fresh ice added.
  • Top off with club soda.
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge, slice, or sliver. Maraschino cherry is often added as well!

Is the Gin and Ginger also a classic gin cocktail? Perhaps not, but it is simple and clean and fresh and delicious.

classic gin cocktails
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