Four Gin Cocktail Recipes

Cocktail Cadre has the pleasure of sponsoring a spirits tasting table at the annual Pasadena Education Network’s Wine and Spirits Tasting fundraiser event in May 2022. Cadre co-founder Martin picked three different types of gin to help showcase the wide array of styles and flavors while also making sure the bottles were easily available for folks who wanted to acquire some for their home bars following the tasting. The event included a small taste each of a classic London Dry Style gin, Bombay Sapphire, along with two “new style” gins: the citrusy and spicy Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, and a California gin, Gray Whale, from Sebastopol with botanicals of almond, fir, and sea kelp inspired by the migration patterns of the giant sea mammals. After the neat tasting, each guest picked their favorite gin to have paired with tonic water for a refreshing warm spring evening.

However, to go deeper than a standard Gin and Tonic, Martin has posted four of his custom gin cocktail creations below for those who are looking to delve further into the world of gin. These cocktails include some fun techniques that are very easy to do for any amateur home bartender.

A gin cocktail for spring called "The First Blush of Spring" in a coupe glass

The First Blush of Spring cocktail

First Blush of Spring

This fun and festive gin cocktail is a refreshing mix of gin, sparkling wine, and berries that I’ve taken to serving for Easter dinner the last couple of years but which can be served any time fresh berries are in season.

  • 1.5 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • 0.75 oz freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 0.75 oz Simple Syrup (equal parts sugar and water, heated in a pan over low heat until the sugar dissolves; keep for about 3 weeks bottled in the refrigerator)
  • 0.20 oz Crème de Violette
  • 3 Blackberries
  • 6 Blueberries,
  • Sparking Wine, to top
  • Garnish: 3 blueberries
  • Glass: Coupe or Champagne Flute
  • Equipment: Shaker, muddler, two strainers

Technique: Place the blackberries and six blueberries into the bottom of a shaker tin and add the simple syrup. Muddle (use a wooden spoon if you don’t have a muddler; gently press to release the juices from the fruit but don’t mash them too much), then add all remaining ingredients except the sparkling wine. Add ice and shake for at least 30 seconds until all the ingredients are incorporated. Fine strain (use the strainer from your shaker plus a second finer strainer over the top of the glass) into the glass, top with the sparkling wine, and garnish.


A gin cocktail for spring called "My Chai'Rona" in a rocks glass

My Chai’Rona cocktail

My Chai’Rona

For this riff on a Negroni, a classic cocktail of three equal parts, I swapped in an infused vermouth for a subtle spicy cinnamon flavor. I like using Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin in this one because the combination of the citrus notes plus the spicy cardamom and anise notes on the backend match nicely with the chai flavors.

  • 1.0 oz Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin
  • 1.0 oz Campari
  • 1.0 oz chai-infused Bianco Vermouth (see below)
  • Garnish: Orange peel
  • Glass: Rocks or Old Fashioned
  • Equipment: Mixing glass, spoon, strainer

Technique: Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir for about 30 revolutions to ensure the drink is cold but not over-diluted. Strain into a glass over ice. Garnish by squeezing the orange oil from the peel into the drink, running the peel side around the rim of the glass, and dropping it in.

Chai-Infused Vermouth: Add one tea bag of chai to one 750 ml bottle of Bianco (also known as “Blanco”) Vermouth and let steep over night (24 hours). Fine-strain back into the bottle and keep refrigerated.


A custom gin cocktail for spring called "121 Pepper Street" in a coupe glass

121 Pepper Street cocktail

121 Pepper Street

I created this cocktail back in 2017 on Jackie Robinson Day, April 15, 2017, as a way to honor the man who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball and who once lived at 121 Pepper Street here in Pasadena (the house is long-gone but a plaque commemorates his time there). The nuttiness of the Gray Whale gin matches nicely with the sherry.

  • 2.0 oz Gray Whale gin
  • 0.75 oz Strawberry-Rosemary-Pepper syrup (see below)
  • 0.5 oz Lillet Rouge
  • 0.5 oz Fino Sherry
  • Garnish: Strawberry, sprig of rosemary, and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Glass: Couple or cocktail glass
  • Equipment: Shaker, strainer

Technique: Add all ingredients to the shaker and shake with ice for about 30 seconds until well-chilled but not over-diluted. Strain into the glass and garnish with a small bit of freshly cracked black pepper on top.

Strawberry-Rosemary-Pepper Syrup:

  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 16 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns

Add the strawberries and water to a saucepan and bring to a boil on the stove, then simmer for 20 minutes. Skim the foam off the top, then strain out the liquid into another part, discarding the solids. Add the sugar, rosemary, and black peppercorns and heat over low heat until the sugar dissolves, then very low simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain out the remaining solids, bottle and refrigerate. Keeps for about 3 weeks.


A custom gin cocktail for spring called "A Thyme to Reflect" in a rocks glass with a sprig of thyme

A Thyme to Reflect cocktail

A Thyme to Reflect

Another spring cocktail I created to take advantage of fresh berries and herbs from the Pasadena farmer’s market. For this cocktail, experiment with different types of gin to see how the flavor changes depending on what style you use. I used a softer, more floral gin called Aria from Oregon for mine, but most gins will work fine.

  • 2.5 oz Gin
  • 0.75 oz Honey Syrup (equal parts honey and hot water, mixed until the honey is completely incorporated; cool and store in a bottle inside the refrigerator for up to 3-4 weeks)
  • 0.5 oz Lemon Juice
  • 10 blueberries
  • 5 raspberries
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • Garnish: Thyme sprig
  • Glass: Rocks or Old Fashioned glass
  • Equipment: Shaker, muddler, two strainers

Technique: Gently slap one thyme sprig between both hands to release the oils, then drop into the glass with a large ice cube. Add the berries and honey syrup to a shaker tin and muddle to release the juices from the berries. Add the remaining ingredients and shake over ice until well-chilled but not over-diluted, about 20-30 seconds. Fine-strain (use the strainer from your shaker along with another finer strainer over the glass) into the glass, then garnish with the thyme sprig (again, slapping it gently with your hand will release the oils and aromas).


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