At long last, spring is here! And now that the sun is shining and the flowers are getting ready to bloom, it's time to break out the gin. While we like to enjoy the herbaceous spirit year-round, it really is the perfect way to welcome the warmer months ahead.
"Gin is fresh, and so alive," says top cocktail author and Liquor.com advisory board member Gary Regan. "It can awaken you from the deepest of slumbers, just like a fabulous spring day."
And we agree whole-heartedly--especially when it's mixed in one of these five quintessential springtime cocktails.
Ramos Gin Fizz
The frothy Ramos Gin Fizz is a delightful mixture of gin with citrus and egg white, plus a few drops of orange flower water, whose perfumey scent is like a pure distillation of the season. The New Orleans favorite is, coincidentally, the subject of our latest How to Cocktail video. Luckily for anyone with these ingredients and a shaker at home, you can make one right now with the help of San Francisco mixologist Jen Ackrill.
Still not sure you're a gin fan? You'll likely change your mind after one sip of the South Side. Like noted bartender Kevin Diedrich says in our How to Cocktail video, the combo of mint and complex gin is a great introduction for those who are a bit reluctant.
If you're a seasoned gin-lover, the old-school Aviation will put a seasonal spring in your step. Not only does it have that delicious herbal base of gin, but maraschino liqueur and créme de violette give it a truly unique floral flavor and make it as blue as a cloudless sky.
The Last Word
And then there's this classic, which was nearly lost to history. The Last Word was allegedly invented in Detroit during Prohibition and was published in a '50s cocktail book, but it had disappeared almost completely before Seattle bartender Murray Stenson rediscovered it about a decade ago. That started a nationwide craze for a drink that's a little sweet (maraschino liqueur) and a little sour (lime juice) with punchy herbal notes from Chartreuse.
Gin & Tonic
Of course, there's no going wrong with the simple and understated Gin & Tonic, either. But why not shake things up by using an artisanal tonic? We like Hendrick's with Fever-Tree, Tanqueray with Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. or Plymouth with Q Tonic -- and you can even try experimenting with other additives. Legendary bartender and Liquor.com advisory board member Dale DeGroff suggests a few dashes of bitters to "add wonderful layers of flavor to the drink." Another easy way to change it up, he says, is by incorporating your favorite juices or fruit purees.
So no matter if you're feeling ambitious enough to shake up a Ramos Gin Fizz or if you're just craving a simple Gin & Tonic, here's to a gin-filled spring!