Ginned Up: Gin stars in these classic but easy-to-make cocktails

We asked San Antonio bar pros to share recipes for gin cocktails they enjoy at home.

click to enlarge These are great drinks to make when you want to let gin's many flavor components shine. - Nina Rangel
Nina Rangel
These are great drinks to make when you want to let gin's many flavor components shine.

Gin figures in numerous classic cocktails, but many novice home bartenders are intimidated by the juniper-forward spirit.

Developed by European monks and alchemists as a medical elixir, gin features botanical and herbal flavors perfect for imbibers who enjoy discerning different layers of flavor with every sip. But that same complexity leads some to regard it as an acquired taste or scratch their heads about how to make it play nicely with other cocktail ingredients.

To help demystify things, we asked San Antonio bar pros to share recipes for gin cocktails they enjoy at home. These are great drinks to make when you want to let gin's many flavor components shine. Just be warned: they aren't for the faint of heart. Each contains few, if any, non-alcoholic ingredients. Be sure you imbibe responsibly and invest in quality gin.

To start, Double Standard Beverage Manager Myles Worrell offered this recipe for a sturdy martini featuring three kinds of gin plus a vermouth made from a blend of 15 different botanicals. This specific brand of vermouth offers a slightly bitter citrus note which also complements the earthy nuances of the gin.

Myles' Gin Martini

.75 ounces Monkey 47 Dry Gin

.75 ounces Hayman's Royal Dock Navy

Strength Gin

.75 ounces Reisetbauer Blue Gin

.75 ounces Dolin dry vermouth

Lemon zest for garnish

Stir all liquids in mixing glass over ice and strain into chilled coupe glass. Garnish with the lemon zest.

Sojourn operating partner Derik Cortez shared his recipe for a lesser-known classic, the Tuxedo No. 2. Cortez omits absinthe, an often-seen variation on the sipper. Maraschino liqueur lends an herbal, bitter-dry flavor with notes of cherry and almond that aren't overly sweet.

Derik's Tuxedo No. 2

2 ounces Hayman's Old Tom Gin

.75 ounces Dolin dry vermouth

.25 ounces maraschino liqueur

2 dashes orange bitters

Brandied cherry for garnish

Add ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled. Strain into chilled glass and garnish with brandied cherry.

I don't presume to be any sort of cocktail pro, but when it comes to gin cocktails, I consider myself an advanced study. A Vesper martini is always a good call, but more so at this time of year, when Meyer lemons are in season. Their zest adds more floral and subtly spicy notes than the typical Lisbon variety of lemons prevalent in the produce aisle.

Nina's Vesper

3 ounces Corsair Pot Distilled

American Gin

1 ounce Humboldt Organic Vodka

.5 ounces Lillet Blanc aperitif

Meyer lemon twist for garnish

Add the gin, vodka and Lillet Blanc into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Express the citrus oils of the lemon peel over the surface of the drink and rub the garnish along the rim of the glass before dropping it into the cocktail.

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About The Author

Nina Rangel

Nina uses nearly 20 years of experience in the foodservice industry to tell the stories of movers and shakers in the food scene in San Antonio. She enjoys writing about industry-specific challenges, victories and everything in between.

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