The oppressive heat of July brings on a desperate need for cold cocktails, and we've been getting into the spirit this month with gin. Originally more of a distilled herbal medicine than the deliciously refreshing clear liquor we know today, gin has nevertheless held on to, and even embraced, its herbal roots more so than any other mainstream spirit.
Its name is derived from the French "genievre," meaning juniper, and evergreen and pine notes are common. Embracing the herbacious factor, many of today's top gins add various botanicals to the mix, imparting flavors from barks, roots, flowers, leaves and more. They make gin an extraordinarily complementary yet complex cocktail component. These 10 recipes include some modern spins on classics like the gimlet, fizz, bramble and the French 75, as well as a few new concoctions to impress even well-seasoned imbibers.
The French 75 probably originated in France during World War I, and takes its name from the intimidating 75mm field cannon, but it was popularized at New York's Stork Club during Prohibition. Combine 1 ounce of Tanqueray London dry gin with a half-ounce of simple syrup and half a lemon, crushed. Shake with ice, then strain into a champagne saucer or martini glass. Top with 1 1/4 ounces of champagne and garnish with a lemon wedge or tuile.