Build Your Own Gin Bar

July 15, 2021

So you don’t love gin yet? Or better yet, you recently fell in love with Gin and you want more refreshing recipes to add to your repertoire? Funny you asked, we curated this shopping list for you to create 11 classic recipes at home. In total, when including riffs on some classics, this shopping list will net you a total of 20+ unique creations for drinks to share with friends or to add a new favorite to your happy hour rotation. 

We agonizingly tried all these recipes ourselves (to ensure quality & to party a little) and in most cases we provide a range for your proportions instead of hard rules. We suggest trying every recipe on the low end to start and then adding more individual ingredients to achieve your desired balance. One of the best things about gin is its versatility and substitutability. Many of these recipes go great when subbing on liquor for another, or even subbing gin out for tequila or vodka. Try it with gin first, find your balance and then have a whack at messing with your base spirit and supporting ingredients.

Getting started… No one likes buying a bottle of specialty liqueur that only works for one recipe. We’ve distilled this cocktail shopping list down to indicate how many recipes call for each ingredient. There are only 2 recipes(*) out of the 11 that require such an ingredient, denoted by an asterisk. In addition, we have suggested variations on classics, such as the French 75 and Gin & Tonic, that simply require adding ¼ oz to ½ oz of liqueur to the core formula. gin-recipes

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Think you don't have enough room for a home bar? Think again...

The Classics

These 3 recipes require the most essential ingredients for starting your bar and in most cases you can walk into any bar and order one, and the bartender will know what you are talking about.


1. The Negroni
- This is both our numerical #1 and our personally ranked #1 - our campfire cocktail hour MVP. It's refreshing enough for hot summer evenings, and complex enough for a cold winter’s night. It's strong, bitter, fragrant and sweet. Pack out a Firelight 750 of Negronis on your next backpacking adventure and it’ll inevitably become your new favorite backcountry tradition.

  • 1½ -2 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Campari (more bitter) or Aperol (sweeter)
  • ½ -1 oz Antica Vermouth
  • Garnish: Lemon Peel

Instructions: Traditionally this is shaken with ice and strained over a coup glass, we prefer it right on top of a large ice cube in a 6-shooter tumbler.

Variations: Add 4 oz of Rose to turn this into a refreshing highball, or 4oz of Champagne to turn it into a Negroni 75

Substitutions: Tequila or Mezcal instead of Gin, when using whiskey its called a “boulevardier”. Try using a different orange-bitter liqueur in place of Aperol or Campari. There are lots of craft distillers making aperitifs these days.


2. Gin Fizz
- This is a great base recipe for variations and substitutions. It's core recipe is a holiday brunch tradition in my family. These go down easy and would famously lead to my Nono singing in the family room.

  • 2 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Lemon Juice
  • ½ oz Simple Syrup (or a tablespoon of maple syrup)
  • 1 egg white
  • 2-4 oz club soda

Instructions: Fill your highball with soda water and set it aside. Add your remaining ingredients to your cocktail shaker (if you have a wire blender ball, toss that in there to turn your froth up to 11). Shake vigorously without ice and strain onto the club soda in your highball. Add ice until your tumbler is full and gently stir until your drink is chilled. This order of operations will ensure your drink remains fizzy and doesn’t make a huge foamy mess on your countertop.

Variations: Try adding ¼ - ½ oz of either Elderflower (honeysuckle/ floral), Green Chartreuse (herbal), Maraschino (sweet/ tart), or Aperol (bitter/ orange). Go easy on the simple syrup if adding liqueurs to the mix.

Substitutions: Try it with Mezcal, tequila or your favorite flavored craft vodka in place of gin.


3. Last Word
- A new favorite of ours at High Camp HQ. It functions equally as a stiff, after-dinner drink or as a refreshing happy hour concoction. It's got citrus, herbaceousness and maraschino yet somehow still highlights the gin element. It's another great core for experimenting with because each component can be substituted with say another form of citrus juice or an alternative liqueur.

  • 1 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Green Chartreuse
  • 1 oz Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1 oz Fresh Lime Juice

Instructions: Add all ingredients to your shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a lowball tumbler.

Variations: Add egg white and make it a “sour”. Try using lemon or grapefruit juice instead of Lime juice.

Substitutions: Try it with Mezcal or tequila instead of gin.,Add a dash of pineapple juice (a little goes a long way). Add a chopped jalapeño to your cocktail shaker to make it spicy.

Easy Street

This 2nd section, I’m calling “Easy Street”. These cocktails are all slight variations of a Gimlet and can be augmented with the liqueurs used in the craft cocktail collection above. All of these drinks require citrus juice and simple syrup. We highly recommend squeezing your own lemons and limes and not using any citrus juice from concentrate. Some natural grocery stores do carry unsweetened lemon and lime juices and these in fact work great (found in the juice section).

4. Gin Gimlet 

  • 2 oz Gin
  • ½ -1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • ½ -1 oz simple syrup
  • Lime peel

    Instructions: Add all ingredients to your shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a lowball tumbler. Garnish with a lime peel

    Variations: Add egg white and make it a “sour”. Add ¼ - ½ oz of elderflower liqueur or Green Chartreuse. Add a muddled Jalapeño to make it spicy.

    Substitutions: Try it with Mezcal or tequila instead of gin (if you add triple sec it's called a margarita) When you use rum, it's called a Daiquiri. Mix up the citrus juice: Grapefruit, lemon, or pineapple juice.

     

    5. French 75 - Take the gimlet, substitute lemon juice and add sparkling wine… Boom, you got a French 75. Great for a boozy brunch or poolside afternoons, this proportion of sparkling wine to an already complete cocktail translates to a great playground for experimenting with new combinations. 

    • 2 oz Gin
    • ½ -1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
    • ½ -1 oz simple syrup
    • 4-6 oz of Sparkling Wine

    Instructions: Fill your highball with Sparkling wine and set it aside. Add your remaining ingredients to your cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously with ice and strain onto the sparkling wine in your highball. Add ice until your highball is full and gently stir until your drink is chilled. This order of operations will ensure your drink remains fizzy and doesn’t make a mess on your countertop. 

    Variations: Add egg white and make it a “Fizz Royale”. Add ¼ - ½ oz of elderflower liqueur or Maraschino liqueur.

    Substitutions: Try using tequila, Mezcal or Pisco as a base spirit instead of gin.

     
    6. Tom Collins - Another riff on the Gimlet/ French 75, with club soda this time. 

    • 2 oz Gin
    • ½ -1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
    • ½ -1 oz simple syrup
    • 4-6 oz of Club Soda

    Instructions: Fill your highball with club soda and set it aside. Add your remaining ingredients to your cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously with ice and strain onto the club soda in your highball. Add ice until your highball is full and gently stir until your drink is chilled. This order of operations will ensure your drink remains fizzy and doesn’t make a mess on your countertop. 

    Variations: Add egg white and make it a “Fizz Royale”. Add ¼ - ½ oz of elderflower liqueur or Maraschino liqueur.

    Substitutions: Try using tequila, Mezcal or Pisco as a base spirit instead of gin.


    7. Gin & Tonic - It's really hard to beat a classic gin and tonic. It's not frequently listed on the featured section of a cocktail list, but there are definitely some tricks to add another layer of sophistication to this staple (see variations). 

    • 2 oz Gin
    • 4 oz of Tonic
    • Lime Wedge

    Instructions: Add gin to your highball glass with a couple of ice cubes and stir until gin is chilled. Add chilled tonic water and add additional ice until your highball is full. Top with a lime wedge. 

    Variations: Add ¼ - ½ oz of elderflower liqueur or green chartreuse

     

    The Elevated Collection

    The recipes in the elevated collection might not be ones that you’ve heard of before, but they're sure to impress even the most advance gin connoisseur.

    8. Aviation - You’ve probably seen photos of this beautifully violet cocktail, served “up” in a martini glass, although we have not been able to replicate the bright colors represented on a google image search, it does taste deliciously floral and refreshing. This cocktail was one of our inspirations to start this list in the first place, it requires Maraschino liqueur, which appears in other recipes on this list, but I haven’t really loved another Gin cocktail which uses Creme Yvette (we have successfully swapped Creme Yvette for Elderflower Liqueur in some tequila recipes though).

    • 1 ½ to 2oz Gin
    • ½ oz Maraschino Liqueur
    • ¼ to ½ oz Creme Yvette
    • ¼ to ½ oz simple syrup
    • ½ to ¾ oz Lemon Juice
    • Garnish: Lemon peel or brandied cherry

    Instructions: Traditionally this is shaken with ice and strained over a martini glass, we prefer it right on top of a large ice cube in a 6-shooter tumbler. There are some home-bartenders out there who could try their hand at clarifying their lemon juice to make the color pop a bit more, but it does sound like a cumbersome process for the uninitiated.


    9. Gypsy Eyes -
    This cocktail caught my eye in the holy grail of cocktail books, Death & Co. It's quite numerous in ingredients, but if you are making a couple for friends it's worth the effort. It's citrus heavy and as always, refreshing.

    • 1 ½ to 2oz Gin
    • ½ oz Aperol or Campari
    • ¼ oz (or Rinse) Green Chartreuse
    • ¼ to ½ oz simple syrup
    • ½ to ¾ oz Lime Juice
    • ½ oz Grapefruit Juice
    • Garnish: Lime or Grapefruit wedge

    Instructions: Traditionally this is shaken with ice and strained over a coup, as always we prefer it right on top of a large ice cube in a 6-shooter tumbler.

    Variations: Sub tequila for gin or add soda water to make it a day-drinking highball.

     

    9. Martinez - The next time you can’t decide whether to make a manhattan or martini, try a martinez. It's got the same DNA as both of these classics, but it's a Gin with Sweet Vermouth combination - the maraschino liqueur provides an x-factor that allows this cocktail to stand alone as its own creation.

    • 1 ½ to 2oz Gin
    • ½ oz Sweet Vermouth
    • ¼ oz Maraschino liqueur
    • 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
    • Garnish with a brandied cherry

    Instructions: Shake all ingredients and strain it right on top of a large ice cube in a 6-shooter tumbler. Add a brandied cherry for a garnish.

     

     

    Shopping List

     Liquor/Spirit

    # of Recipes Using Ingredients

    Cost

    Gin (Pick 1 or all 3)
    Gray Whale (750ml) - $35
    St. George Botanivore (750ml) -
    $25
    Wilder Gin (750ml) - $35
    Liqueurs/ Specialty Bar Items
    Antica Vermouth (375ml) 2 $18
    Campari/ Aperol (375ml)
    2 $17
    *Sparkling Wine (750ml) - for the French 75 + numerous variations 1 $15
    Maraschino Liqueur (375ml) 6 $20
    Elderflower Liqueur (375ml) 4 $20
    Orange Bitters 2 $8
    Green Chartreuse (375ml) 2 $34
    *Brandied Cherries (for the Martinez)
    1 $19
    *Creme de Violette (for the Aviation) 1 $24
    Household Items
    Lemons - -
    Lime - -
    Egg white - -
    Cane sugar - -
    Grapefruit - -
    Cucumber - -
    Club soda/ sparking water - -
    Tonic water - -

     


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