Asking "Can I make a cocktail with gin?" is like saying "Can I play a song with a guitar?"
Gin is the main ingredient in hundreds of exciting and delicious cocktails, so there's no end to the number of combinations and cocktails you can try out!
And just like a guitar, once you've had a little practice and a few Tom Collins or Sloe Gin Sours to get the creative spark going, you'll soon be creating your own cocktail inventions!
These days, gin is one of the staple spirits in a bartender's repertoire and you'd be hard pressed to find a cocktail menu in the world that didn't make use of this spirit's flavor and properties. How far you want to go on your 'Gin-experience' depends entirely on you: You could play it safe and mix yourself a tasty tried and tested combination of Gin and Tonic water, or you could be a bit more adventurous and try out some of the hundreds of gin-based cocktails out there!
What Gin Cocktails Are Out There?
A form of Gin was first brewed by monks as far back as the 11th century and is a spirit whose flavor derives primarily from the Juniper Berry. Historically, it's had a checkered past, and was even sold as a remedy for the Black Death (albeit an ineffective one). So as long as you're not looking to gin as a cure for the plague, a good gin cocktail will rarely let you down.
Like most distilled beverages, when using Gin in a cocktail your first question will be 'How prominent do you want the gin to be in your drink?'
Most gin, by definition, will hover around the 40% ABV (alcohol by volume) mark, and as a result can add a significant kick to the taste of a drink. So, if what you're looking for in your cocktail is an opportunity to sip and savor the complex taste of a fine gin with as little outside interference or dilution as possible, perhaps a Gin Martini might be what you're looking for:
A gin martini is probably the most recognizable cocktail in the world, and is a no frills mixture of gin and dry vermouth in a five-to-one ratio. The ingredients are mixed with ice in a cocktail shaker (either shaken or stirred with a bar spoon) and then strained into a chilled martini glass and finished with an olive or a lemon twist (a strip of lemon peel twisted over the finished cocktail to release a hint of the lemon peel's oils into the drink).
If you're looking for something a bit lighter and more exotic, perhaps a Singapore Sling might be the drink for you:
A Singapore Sling is a slightly more complex blend that requires the following ingredients at the specified measurements:
40ml (8 parts) Gin
20ml (4 parts) Heering Cherry Liqueur (or a cherry brandy)
5ml (1 part) Cointreau
5ml (1 part) DOM Bénédictine
10ml (2 parts) Grenadine
80ml (16 parts) Pineapple juice
30ml (6 parts) Fresh lemon juice
1 dash Angostura bitters
Once you've poured all those ingredients into a cocktail shaker, all you've got to do is give them a good,hard shake. This drink is often served up in a 'Poco Grande' glass, but any tall-glass will do. The addition of soda at the end creates a nice head of foam on the top of the drink, and a juicy pineapple wedge is the garnish of choice.