5 Simple Summer Gin Cocktails
Gin, it really suits any time of year. Just think of Gin cocktail classics such as the Martini or Negroni, they’re easy to enjoy no matter the weather. However, with its crisp, dry style and the iconic long refreshing serve – the G&T – to many people there’s always been an association with Gin and summer cocktails; people in liquor sales like to call the warmer months ‘Gin Season’.
With that in mind, here are five of the best simple summer Gin cocktail options for you to enjoy with Gin during the hot days of summer or end of summer heat waves! These delicious recipes need minimal equipment and simple ingredients, making outdoor mixing as effortless as possible. Better still, these are five recipes where the only bottle of spirit you need is one bottle of Gin! So, you can try them all without having to buy a selection of weird and wonderful modifiers.
01. Gin Rickey
Delightfully refreshing, low-ABV and with no added sugars the Rickey is a super simple must know classic that was purposely invented to keep you cool! Bright and citrusy, this recipe cleverly avoids the need for sugar with the use of sparkling water.
The Rickey was originally made with Bourbon, and was created by Joe Rickey, a lobbyist from Washington DC, in the late 1800s. He worked out that by avoiding sugar you could stay cooler in the summer heat. So, instead of using sugar to balance out the acidity of the lime juice, like you would in a Daiquiri for example, he simply decided that by using less lime and more sparkling water, he could create a long refreshing drink without the need for any additional sweetening.
Little did he know that his omittance of sugar would be right on trend over a hundred years later! The ABV (alcohol by volume) is also on trend too, as it’s lower than many cocktails. This is because, compared to a regular highball, the amount of sparkling water is doubled to quell the acidity of the lime juice in the absence of sugar.
There’s opportunity for variation here, mixing up the citrus juices for example or for ease of serve, especially when you’re outside and ice and glasses are a clumsy liability, take inspiration from the Texan modern classic Ranch Water. Simply take a swig from a bottle of your favorite sparkling water, then add the Gin and fresh lime juice directly into the bottle. All the joy of a cocktail with the ease of a bottle of beer!
02. Tom Collins
What can we say about this essential classic recipe? It’s boozy lemonade basically! Originally made with Gin (Old Tom to be exact) the formula actually works with any spirit you enjoy, if you want to sub out the Gin for a change.
Beyond changing the base spirit, it’s an incredibly easy recipe to adapt and change into all sorts of variations through the addition of herbs, fruits, or bitters. This makes it a great recipe to learn and then get creative with!
One of the easiest ways to add a twist to your Collins is by using a flavoured sugar syrup instead of plain simple syrup. Here’s a guide on how to make flavored syrups , it’s so simple and they last for ages in the fridge if you look after them well. It’s a great way to use seasonal fruits when they’re at their very best and create your own simple summer gin cocktails.
03. Gin Buck
Simple, delicious, tall and refreshing, the Gin Buck is a great alternative to the G&T and just as easy to make.
While the Buck itself may not be known to everyone, you will most likely have drunk one of the members of the Buck family before, as famous variations on the classic Buck recipe include the Moscow Mule (Vodka, Lime, Ginger Beer) and the Dark & Stormy (Goslings Dark Rum, Lime, Ginger Beer).
Although the Buck can work with virtually any spirit, the Gin Buck in particular, like the Tom Collins, is one of those “Swiss army knife” recipes that can be easily adapted to suit any moment or preference. Gin is such a versatile spirit to work with and it makes this Buck recipe incredibly easy to play with.
With just a few simple tweaks to the core ingredients you can create your own unique recipe with very different characteristics. Try switching out lemon juice for other citrus juices or adding a few dashes of bitters to add spice and complexity. Including fresh berries is a great option that will impart both colour and flavour to your classic Buck.
04. Pink Gin & Soda
To be clear, this recipe has nothing to do with pink fruity flavored gins, instead, the color comes from the inclusion of a little Angostura Bitters.
This is a long and refreshing modern take on the old simple classic Pink Gin cocktail which was traditionally served as equal parts Plymouth Gin Navy Strength and still water, with a dash or two of Angostura Bitters. As the drink moved from ship to shore and finally into cocktail bars, it evolved. The gin and bitters started to be stirred together with ice to chill and add water, then served “Up” with a twist, like a Martini.
This variation is gin’s answer to the ever-popular Whisk(e)y Highball. Replacing the still water of the classic Pink Gin cocktail with lashings of Sparkling Water instead. It’s a long and incredibly refreshing cocktail that has a deep complexity of flavour thanks to the botanicals used in both Gin and Angostura bitters. Subtle yes, boring it is not!
Mixing spirits with Sparkling Water / Club Soda etc…has become ever more popular in recent years, as a growing number of people take control of their health and look to reduce how much sugar they are ingesting.
05. Coffee G&T
You didn’t think we’d finish this simple summer gin cocktails list without mentioning the G&T did you?! Like all of the recipes here, the G&T is a deliciously simple highball that also allows for plenty of creativity beyond a slice of your preferred citrus.
While we’re mentioning garnishes on a G&T, there’s no one-citrus-fits-all rule here. Have a look at what the Gin brand recommends, or have a look at what, if any, citrus peel that’s in the Gin’s recipe. Then work with it, not against it. Your choice here can really make or break a G&T, so don’t just automatically go and squeeze a big’ol wedge of lime in every time!
Back to the Coffee G&T, this little tweak to the classic really adds depth of flavor and no small amount of intrigue. ‘Coffee and Tonic’?! Yes, we hear you, but trust us, it’s a great combination you need to try, and not as weird as you might think at first glance. Plus, the amounts of both orange juice and coffee are quite small. Enough to add flavor and character, but little enough that this is still a G&T.
Bitter flavors and Gin work together in so many great cocktails. Anyone heard of the Negroni? The slightly sour and bitter notes from juniper (the key flavoring ingredient in Gin) complement those same flavors found in coffee beans.
The bitter notes from the quinine found in Tonic also combine well with the soft bitter notes in both the Gin and the coffee. This is all balanced beautifully with the fresh sweetness of pressed orange juice. Citrus and coffee is a great combination that is more popular than you might realize. If you’ve never tried a twist of lemon or orange on top of your espresso, then you’ve been missing out!
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