With so much time being spent in our house, many of us are spending more time indulging in the finer things in life — namely, whatever liquor we’ve stocked up on. If you’re like some of us here at The Manual, that includes copious amounts of gin and now, days into quarantine, the fancy cocktail ingredients you may have stocked up on are most likely running out. Instead, it’s time to switch to basic mixers for your essential gin cocktails.
The joy of gin is that there are so many styles and botanical blends out there that you can find a flavor profile for just about any palate. That wide variety, too, means that you can utilize a number of different mixers for simple, delicious drinks. Below, we’ve pulled together the best mixers to stock up on for when you need a gin drink.
If this wasn’t the first thing your mind went to, we’re going to guess that you’ve been living under a rock. Gin and tonic is the epitome of an easy, flavorful gin drink. The catch here, though, is that you need to find a good tonic — most mass-produced tonics contain over 20 grams of sugar per serving. Opt for tonics such as Q Drinks or Fevertree instead (we have a whole list of the best tonic waters). You’ll want to make sure you have one of the best gins for a gin and tonic, too.
While we said that tonic was probably the first thing your mind went to, that probably wasn’t the case if you are a martini drinker. If you are, well, then your mind was right here all along. Vermouth — aromatized wine — plays well with others (the “others” being the botanicals in the gin), giving you one of the cleanest classic cocktails out there. Unless you make it dirty, that is. It’s always good to have both red and white vermouth ready to go, just in case.
If you want to extend your gin drink without extending your waistline, soda is where it’s at. When plain, using soda allows the gin flavors to shine while also adding a nice amount of bubbles on the palate. The great thing about soda is that it comes in practically endless flavors these days, so you’re offered myriad options for flavor without worrying about extra calories. Here are our picks for the best sparkly waters.
Lemon Juice or Lemonade
The choice between these two comes down to whether you want a sweet drink or not. If you’re looking for something simple, citrusy, and bitter, go for the lemon juice. If it’s a hot day and you’re going to be sitting on the porch with an aunt who never knows when to shut up about, well, everything, then go with the lemonade. The lemon smell and the sugar content will cover up the gin and you’ll be able to get through every tangent your aunt has on every topic from aardvarks to the inevitable heat death of the universe.
If you’ve got lemon on hand, you’re going to want lime, too. Adding a little simple syrup to lime and gin yields a classic cocktail — the gimlet — but even without sugar, this combination is hard to beat. Served over ice, you get a bright bitter, citrusy, botanical wave across the tongue and down the gullet. Gin and lime just go together. It’s as simple as that. Use fresh lime juice if you can, but if you can’t there are plenty bottled iterations out there.
If it’s good enough for Snoop, it’s good enough for you. Seriously, though. The bright, sweet, tropical flavors of pineapple juice go well with gin. Depending on the type of gin (we recommend a London Dry style, but work with what you’ve got), the citrus elements in the spirit really come to the forefront. The match was probably not created in the LBC, but it was certainly made famous there. Add a splash of soda for a nice poolside refresher. On the pineapple juice front, Dole has the market pretty much on lock.
Earl Grey Tea
Known as Royal Tea or the Queen’s Tea (or, I’m sure, something else entirely British-sounding), the combination of gin and Earl Grey tea is one heck of a way to start the morning. The botanicals in both play off each other nicely and, if it’s a cold day, how can you beat booze in a hot beverage? You can’t, that’s how (it’s not toddy season yet, but it’s better to stock up and not be left in the lurch on that first cold day). Twinings makes a great Earl Grey tea.
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