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5 lip-smacking gin cocktails and their recipes

Layered with botanicals, gin is an ever-popular, complex spirit. Here, it shines in these beautiful gin cocktails, ranging from fresh and fruity to strong and citrusy.

Gin cocktails and their recipes | Cucumber and mint G&T cocktail recipe

Gin has long been one of our favourite spirits. We would argue that it's always been popular, but there's no denying that recent years have seen an influx in interest in the botanical spirit. And we'd say it's because gin cocktails are simply the best. Fresh and floral, fruity, herbal, citrusy — you name it. When it comes to gin cocktails, anything goes.

There are so many different kinds of gin on the market now, too, with many coming from local Ontario distilleries. In Toronto, you'll find Reid's Distillery and Collective Arts Brewing turning out some fantastic spirits, and just outside the city is Dillon's Small Batch Distillers. Each distillery is offering their own unique take on the spirit, using different herbs, botanicals and infusions. 

While most gins include juniper, coriander, angelica and other standard herbs, some get really creative with their botanical blends. There's also an abundance of flavoured gins, like Whitley Neill, on the market, which can add various notes and layers to your gin cocktails.

Here, we've suggested which bottle may work best in these gin cocktails, but feel free to have fun with it. Gin cocktails are what you make 'em.

Dillon’s Rose Gin Negroni

This take on a classic negroni uses Dillon's Rose Gin to add floral notes to an otherwise strong and citrusy gin cocktail.

Gin cocktails and their recipes | Dillon's Rose Gin negroni cocktail recipe

Serves 1

Preparation time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Dillon’s Rose Gin
  • 1 oz Dillon’s Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 oz Select Aperitivo
  • 2–3 dashes Dillon’s Ginger Bitters
  • Orange peel, to garnish
  • Dried rose petals, to garnish

Method

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a mixing glass. Add ice and stir for 20 to 30 seconds.
  2. Place a large cube in a rocks glass and strain cocktail into the glass.
  3. Garnish with either a large orange peel or dried rose petals. Or both!

Q1908

From Q Bar at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, this gin cocktail gets its alluring purple hue from the Empress Gin, infused with butterfly pea flowers.

Gin cocktails and their recipes | Q1908 gin cocktail recipe

Serves 1

Preparation time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Empress 1908 Gin
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • ¾ oz simple syrup
  • ¾ oz egg white
  • Butterfly pea blossom flowers, to garnish

Method

  1. Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker and dry shake.
  2. Add ice and re-shake.
  3. Double strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with two butterfly pea blossom flowers.

Cranberry Crush

Fresh cranberries and whole black peppercorns combine for the perfect balance of spicy, sweet and tart notes in this cocktail.

Gin cocktails and their recipes | Dillon's Cranberry Crush gin cocktail recipe

Serves 1

Preparation time 5 minutes

Cooking time 15 minutes

Ingredients

Cranberry and pepper shrub (makes 1 cup, enough for 8 cocktails)

  • ½ cup filtered water
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup or honey

For the cocktail

  • 1 oz Dillon’s Dry Gin 7
  • 1 oz cranberry and pepper shrub
  • 2 dashes Dillon’s Cranberry Bitters
  • 2 oz soda water
  • Fresh cranberries, to garnish
  • Black pepper, to garnish

Method

  1. To make the cranberry and pepper shrub: Add the water and peppercorns to a medium pot, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to simmer. Add the cranberries and continue to simmer for 10 minutes, or until the cranberries are totally broken down, and the liquid is bright red.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat, and add the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup. Stir to combine all the ingredients and let cool to room temperature.
  4. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into an airtight glass jar. The shrub will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for up to two weeks.
  5. To make the cocktail: Add the gin, shrub and bitters to a shaker tin with ice. Shake vigorously for 10 to 15 seconds.
  6. Strain the cocktail into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice and top with soda water. Garnish with fresh cranberries and black pepper.

Glorious Fairview

Celebrate any occasion with this champagne-topped gin cocktail from Fairview Bar & Restaurant at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

Gin cocktails and their recipes | Glorious Fairview gin cocktail recipe

Serves 1

Preparation time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Fairview Gin
  • ¼ oz lemon juice
  • ¼ oz rosemary vermouth
  • ¼ oz simple syrup
  • 1 dash salt
  • Champagne, to top
  • Lemon zest, to garnish

Method

  1. Add the Fairview Gin, lemon juice, rosemary vermouth, simple syrup and a dash of salt to a boston shaker over ice.
  2. Shake vigorously.
  3. Double strain into a coupe glass, and top with champagne. Garnish with lemon zest.

Cucumber and Mint G&T

The classic G&T gets a glow-up with fresh lime juice and Fever-Tree Cucumber Tonic Water in this refreshing gin cocktail, perfect for spring.

Gin cocktails and their recipes | Cucumber and mint G&T cocktail recipe

Serves 1

Preparation time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Tanqueray London Dry Gin
  • Fever-Tree Cucumber Tonic Water
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Sprig of mint, to garnish
  • Slice of cucumber, to garnish

Method

  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice. Stir.
  2. Strain into a rocks glass or wine glass over fresh ice.
  3. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a slice of cucumber.
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