Over the past year, as people have been mixing drinks at home more, gin has seen a resurgence in popularity. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, gin has emerged as one of the fastest growing spirits categories,” said Tom Spaven, brand director North America at Bombay Sapphire. “Consumers are reimagining how they’re drinking at home with elevated yet simple drinks, and gin is continuing to gain momentum as people discover its unique qualities and mixability… Drinkers are captivated by the spirit as taste preferences lean toward fresh flavors and natural ingredients. On a deeper level, people are always looking at ways to express themselves and explore their creativity through drinks and gin provides them the perfect canvas to do just that.”
Gin might not necessarily be the first thing people think of drinking in the cold, dark winter months, but it’s not like there’s some rule book that says this must be so. “Gin is an extremely versatile spirit with qualities that inspire creativity in cocktail making year-round,” said Spaven. The truth is that there are some really good winter cocktails you can make with this clear, juniper-forward spirit, the key ingredient for classic drinks like the Martini, Martinez, and simple Gin and Tonic. We reached out to some top bartenders around the country to get their takes on gin cocktails that are perfect for winter, and easy enough for you to make at home.
Created by JF Restaurants’ head bartender Robert Krueger
- 1.5 oz gin
- .75 oz Berentzen Apple Liqueur
- .75 oz simple syrup
- .75 oz fresh lemon juice
- 1 small piece ginger
- 1 green apple, cored and sliced into quarters
- Candied ginger for garnish
Method: Muddle one piece of apple and the ginger in the bottom of a shaker until pulped. Add the other ingredients, ice, and shake well. Fine strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with the candied ginger.
Inspiration: “The ‘Sour Appletini’ is thoroughly dismissed in haute cocktail classes for its bland vodka base, over-sweetness, and artificiality. However, the flavors it presents are almost universally comforting and couldn't be more seasonal to the last quarter of the year. Adding ginger for a warming spice note, we've also chosen to feature gin for a more aromatic background. Fresh apple, lemon, and of course, ginger, make the flavors pop. The cocktail is crisp, fruity, warming and refreshing at once.”
Created by bartender Shannon Beck of Joe’s Pub in NYC
- 2 oz Edinburgh Gin
- 2 dashes cardamom bitters
- 1 dropper Hopped Grapefruit Bitters
Method: Build in glass and top with Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic and garnish with herb bouquet of thyme rosemary and sage.
Hills of Nardini
Created by bartender Justin Lane Briggs of Pizzeria Verita in Burlington, VT
- 1 oz Barr Hill Gin
- 1 oz Nardini
- .75 oz lemon
- .5 oz simple syrup
- 1 egg white
Method: Combine in mixing tin, dry shake, then shake with ice, double strain into rocks glass, garnish with balsam pine bitters.
Inspiration: “I wanted to put on a split base amaro sour, and Jeremy Oertel’s Fernet Sour seemed like the ideal template. The leap came with trying to play up our Vermont alpine vibes, if you will, thinking of rolling hills in Northern Italy and rolling mountains in Northern Vermont. The obvious choice is the resin and evergreen notes in Nardini, which also help dial back or manage the bracing menthol which runs so wild in Fernet Branca. Topping with a touch of pine bitters and the concept is complete. It is creamy and sour, herbaceous and piney, bitter and sweet all at once.”
Created by Jeff Baumann of The Great Northern in Burlington, Vermont
- 1.5 oz Barr Hill Gin
- .75 oz Bols Genever
- .5 oz Cocchi Americano
- .25 oz Purkhart Pear Williams
- 3 drops saline
- Dash orange bitters
Method: Stir and strain into a coupe. Express with lemon peel.
Inspiration: "We were thinking of Cary Grant sipping on a lunchtime Martini. A retro build that is more of a 50/50 affair. Subtle and nuanced, we didn't want to overpower the soft beauty of the Barr Hill Gin."
Created by director and Artingstall’s Brilliant London Dry Gin founder Paul Feig
- .5 oz Artingstall’s Brilliant London Dry Gin
- .5 oz vodka
- .5 oz mezcal
- .5 oz pisco
- .5 oz peach schnapps
- .5 oz Aperol
- 2 dashes Parfait Amour
- 2 dashes Fee Brothers peach bitters
- 1 oz club soda to top
Method: Shake all ingredients except club soda with ice. Pour ice and liquid into old fashioned glass. Top with club soda and garnish with orange slice. Drink until you forget how terrible 2020 was.
Inspiration: “In honor of the worst year in recent memory, I created this delicious booze pail of a cocktail to send us into the new year with as little recollection of the previous year as possible. Drink, forget and enjoy responsibly!”
Created by Kevin Beary, beverage director for Three Dots and a Dash in Chicago
- 1.5 oz Plymouth Gin
- .5 oz yellow Chartreuse
- .75 oz fresh lemon juice
- .75 oz almond orgeat
- 1 whole fresh passionfruit
Method: Cut passion fruit in half and scoop seeds and pulp into a cocktail shaker. Reserve passion fruit shell. Add gin to the shaker and close. Shake seeds and gin vigorously in shaker tin for 2-3 minutes to release pulp from seeds, Strain gin passion fruit mixture with a fine strainer and reserve seeds. Combine Gin passion fruit mixture with chartreuse, lemon juice and orgeat. Add 12 ounces crushed ice and shake. Pour into a footed cocktail glass and garnish. Fill the passion fruit hull with reserved seeds and top with yellow chartreuse. Serve alongside the completed cocktail.
Inspiration: "This cocktail, inspired by a classic tiki cocktail called the Saturn, is a bright and tropical gin cocktail with bold layers of complex flavor offered by the botanical profile of the gin and herbaceous qualities of the Chartreuse. It showcases the incredible tart flavor of fresh passionfruit and allows the guest an interactive opportunity to enjoy this unique ingredient."
Created by Shannon Tebay at Death & Co in NYC
- 1.25 oz St. George Dry Rye Gin
- .75 oz Clear Creek Apple Brandy
- .75 oz Cocchi Rosa
- .25 oz Giffard Rhubarb
- 1 dash celery bitters
- 1 dash Peychaud's bitters
Method: Combine ingredients in mixing glass and stir over ice. Strain into Nick and Nora glass. Express grapefruit twist over drink and discard.
Ccreated by bartender Elyse Kimmel
- 2 oz Roku Gin
- .75 oz Backyard Soda Cranberry Sage Syrup
- .75 oz. Dolin Dry Vermouth
- 3 dash orange bitters
Method: Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Stir with ice. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with an orange twist.
Created by Agostino Peronne, director of mixology for Connaught Bar, London
- 1.5 oz Hendrick’s Gin
- .3 oz Acqua Bianca liquor
- 1 oz Cocoa husk cream
- 1 oz jasmine and peppermint tea
- .3 oz lemon juice
- 1 oz mint soda
Method: Stir and strain over ice into a Kyoto glass. Garnish with a half-moon chocolate.
Spiced Apple Tea
Created by Bombay Sapphire
- 2 parts Bombay Sapphire
- .5 parts Martini Bianco
- 2 parts good quality cloudy apple juice
- .75 parts freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 5 parts water
- 1 bar spoon orange blossom honey
- 3 thin slices of green apple
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 cloves
- 1 cardamom pod, broken open
- 1 black tea bag
- 1 orange peel twist, gently spritzed
Method: Toast the dry spices and spritzed orange peel in the bottom of a dry pan for a few seconds then add the water, honey, apple juice & apple slices. Allow to warm up to a simmer then add the Assam tea bag. Infuse for four minutes then gently squeeze and take the tea bag out. Add the Bombay Sapphire, Martini Bianco and fresh lemon juice, carefully swirl the pan to mix all the ingredients together then strain off the liquid into pre-warmed cups. Take the cinnamon stick and the three apple slices from the infusion and add to the cup. Finally, grate some fresh nutmeg over the drink.
Created by Dante in New York City
- 1 oz spruce tip gin
- .75 oz Cocchi Torino
- .75 oz Campari
- .5 oz Zirbenz Pine Liqueur
Method: Add all ingredients to a mixing glass, then stir until ice cold. Pour over ice, then garnish with a sprig of rosemary.