10 Martinis That Will Have You Rethinking Gin

Retrain Your Brain About Gin's Potential and Mix Up a New Drink

When it comes to gin cocktails, we need to think beyond the classic Martini and it's dry, botanical taste. Surprisingly, gin is extremely versatile and can be paired with a variety of flavors, from fruits and herbs to spices and sweet creams.

Gin has a very distinct flavor profile, most noted for the pine flavor of its signature ingredient, the juniper berry. This can make it difficult to mix with when you want to try something new. That is, after all, the appeal of vodka martinis:...MORE vodka's neutral flavor makes it easily mixable with any flavor you can imagine.

However, gin does not have to be a challenge and these cocktails prove its potential. These are modern cocktail recipes that stretch the limits of what we have always thought was possible with gin.

They will open up your eyes to a new world and when the right gin is chosen, their taste will give you a new perspective. Hopefully, they will even inspire you to have more 'what if' moments when it comes to creating your own drinks.

  • 01 of 10
    Christos Bafas' Aura in Me Cocktail
    A delightful drink, Christos Bafas' Aura in Me mixes genever, elderflower, pine honey, pink pepper, and cardamom. Photo Courtesy: © Christos Bafas

    Ingredients: genever, elderflower syrup, pine honey, pink pepper, cardamom, lemon juice, egg white

    Why You Should Try It

    While it can be easy to shy away from adding more botanical notes to gin, it can actually work out very well. The Aura in Me shows us exactly how that can happen.

    This modern cocktail has classic style written all over it. Its base is the sweeter genever and the egg white gives it that richness we love so much in drinks like the Pisco Sour.

    With that traditional base, we then...MORE bring in a modern flare. A honey with pine and nut notes and pink pepper and cardamom are used to contrast those sweetened botanicals.

    It is a fantastic drink, one that can impress any palate.

    Recommended Gin: Bols Genever

    Genever is not a modern gin, it is actually one of the first styles of gin created and Bols has been creating it since 1820. However, in recent years, genever has made a comeback and it is in drinks like this that the sweeter gin really shines.

  • 02 of 10
    Cucumber Wasabi Martini
    The cool taste of a cucumber offsets the spice in this interesting (and very fun) Cucumber Wasabi Martini. Bill Boch / Photolibrary / Getty Images

    Ingredients: gin, cucumber, wasabi, simple syrup, lemon juice

    Why You Should Try It

    It is time to spice things up then cool it down, all in the same glass. This Cucumber Wasabi Martini is a true flavor experience, an adventure you will not want to miss.

    This is not the only cocktail to feature the hot paste that is essential for sushi. Wasabi is actually used more often than you think, it just rarely makes an appearance with gin.

    The refreshing coolness of cucumber offsets the wasabi's spiciness...MORE and simple syrup adds a sweet balance that finishes the drink perfectly. Pair that with an impressive gin and you have an impressive cocktail.

    Recommended Gin: Hendrick's Gin

    Cucumber! Hendrick's should be your gin of choice in any gin cocktail that includes cucumber. Though it is the most noted flavor of this modern gin, you will also find elderflower, rose, yarrow, chamomile, caraway and other botanicals as well. It is truly unique in the world of gin and it is a lot of fun to mix with.

  • 03 of 10
    Easy Lavender Martini Vodka Cocktail Recipe
    The Lavender Martini is a simple recipe, adding a DIY lavender syrup to the classic Gin Martini. Jessica Boone / Photolibrary / Getty Images

    Ingredients: gin, dry vermouth, lavender syrup, orange bitters

    Why You Should Try It

    It's easy! Seriously, that is the best reason I can give you to try the Lavender Martini.

    All I have done is add a dollop of homemade lavender syrup to the classic martini recipe. It is really that simple and the syrup will take just 15 minutes of your time.

    The result is a hint of the soft floral herb in a slightly sweetened Gin Martini. For fans of both elements, it is the best of both worlds and it is one of t...MOREhe best cocktails for spring.

    Recommended Gin: Nolet's Silver Dry Gin

    This is not going to be the cheapest gin, but it is one of the best for creating premium cocktails with a lighter profile. That is why I love it in a Lavender Martini. Nolet's has more fruit and floral notes that piney juniper flavors. It is one of those great modern gins that will appeal to vodka drinkers.

  • 04 of 10
    Greg Easter's The 5/25 Cocktail
    The 5/25 may have just three ingredients, but this gin cocktail is something very special!. Helene Vallee / Vetta / Getty Images

    Ingredients: gin, Moroccan citrus syrup, lime juice

    Why You Should Try It

    If you can appreciate the simplicity of a well-made Gimlet, then you will love this tiny upgrade.

    The recipe is just as simple as its popular predecessor with the exception that you get to make a Moroccan citrus syrup and that is what makes The 5/25 spectacular. This DIY mixer is easy and combines citrus juices with cardamom.

    The result is everything we love about the Gimlet - refreshing tart against a great gin's...MORE botanicals - with a little punch of flavor. It will pull you out of whatever drink routine you're stuck in!

    Recommended Gin: Beefeater London Dry Gin

    Beefeater is the original gin called for in The 5/25 and I believe it is the perfect base for this drink. Not only is Beefeater available everywhere (and is possibly already in your bar) but it also has a full-flavored range of botanicals that balances out the tart citrus of the other ingredients.

    It's a classic gin and ideal for comparing these two drinks side-by-side.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    Dafne Martini Cocktail
    Mix a pear vodka into a blue gin martini and you have the great Dafne Martini. Blueberries optional, but recommended. Photo Courtesy: © Shannon Graham

    Ingredients: gin, pear vodka, blue curacao, dry vermouth, orange bitters

    Why You Should Try It

    It is very easy to create a fruity martini that is sweet and even easier to make it too sweet. If you are tired of those cocktails but still want to drink your fruits, then the Dafne Martini is the drink for you.

    When designing this, I wanted to show off the pear vodkas that were just hitting the market. I didn't want to go the average Pear Martini route. Sure, those are good drinks, but they had been...MORE done.

    Instead, I opted for adapting the Gin Martini into a cocktail with a hint of fruit, much like the classic Emerson, only with modern ingredients. The pear and orange were the perfect pairings for the dry gin and vermouth base.

    Plus, blue drinks are fun! The choice of blue curacao was a natural for finishing off the recipe.

    Recommended Gin: Bombay Sapphire

    The crisp taste and perfect balance of botanicals in Bombay Sapphire make it a perfect candidate for any gin cocktail. This London dry gin can take on fruity profiles like the Dafne Martini and hold up in drier drinks like the Gibson. It is a perfect all-around gin and at right around $20, it's a great bargain!

  • 06 of 10
    French Martini
    The French Martini is always a favorite and with just three ingredients, it's very easy to mix up. Brian Macdonald / Photodisc / Getty Images

    Ingredients: gin, raspberry liqueur, pineapple juice

    Why You Should Try It

    The French Martini is nothing new, yet it is too great to ignore. If you have yet to get a taste of this one, be sure to add it to your list.

    The beauty of the French Martini is that it displays that gin does have a place in the fruitier world of cocktails. A raspberry liqueur like Chambord adds a rich sweetness and the pineapple brings in that fun taste of the tropics that few other fruits can.

    The balance of flavors in this...MORE popular cocktail is ideal. It is not too sweet, nor too fruity... it is just right and that is why it will long remain a favorite.

    Recommended Gin: Tanqueray London Dry Gin

    A great cocktail like the French Martini deserves an equally great gin and that is why I love to use Tanqueray here. This is a gin that you can rely on for consistent drinks and its small portfolio includes some nice options.

    Use the brand's Rangpur gin to bring in a lime twist and, if you can find it, their Malacca is sweeter with hints of grapefruit and other citrus fruits.

  • 07 of 10
    Basil B. Bennett Cocktail
    Made with gin, basil syrup, and lime juice, this is a gimlet-style drink that keeps on giving!. Bob Stefko / The Image Bank / Getty Images

    Ingredients: gin, basil syrup, lime juice, celery shrub

    Why You Should Try It

    Learning to love the experience of making your own drink mixers will take your cocktail game to a new level. That is why I often say that you get rather than have to make your own flavored syrup or shrub.

    The Basil B. Bennett is the perfect cocktail for drinkers who want that DIY adventure because there is the possibility of making two of the drink's ingredients.I have yet to perfect my own celery shrub that rivals...MORE Bittermen's, but that is a challenge I'm willing to continue pursuing.

    For the moment, the basil syrup used in this herbal cocktail is very easy and useful for other drinks. A personal favorite is a garden-fresh take on the Gin Rickey.

    Recommended Gin: Martin Miller's Gin

    The recipe calls for a London dry gin and Martin Miller's is one of the best available when you want something that will rival (and arguably) surpass Beefeater. It is everything that is great about gin and if you want to intensify the gin experience, the brand's Westbourne Strength is the perfect way to do it.

  • 08 of 10
    New Amsterdam Gin's Union Square Cocktail
    Enjoy the perfect pairing of fresh strawberries and basil in this fantastic Union Square cocktail. ivanmateev / E+ / Getty Images

    Ingredients: gin, strawberries, basil, lemon and lime juices, agave nectar

    Why You Should Try It

    Summer in a glass! This Union Square cocktail is one of the freshest gin cocktails you will find. This should be at the top of your drink list throughout the season.

    Basil and strawberries are natural companions and if you happen to have both in your garden, then this drink just got a little bit better. Set against a sweet and sour background with a gin accent, the flavor combination of the Union Square...MORE is a true delight.

    This cocktail will certainly make you rethink gin's potential with fruit!

    Recommended Gin: New Amsterdam Gin

    There are many things to love about New Amsterdam gin. It is American-made, it has a soft citrus and floral palate, and at $20 a bottle, it is budget-friendly. This gin also works well with strong and sweet flavors like those used in the Union Square.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    Blackberry Sidecar Cocktail Recipe from Brockman's Gin
    Fresh blackberries and plum bitters are the features of Brockman's Gin's Blackberry Sidecar cocktail. Photo Courtesy: © Brockman's Gin

    Ingredients: gin, triple sec, blackberries, lemon juice, plum bitters

    Why You Should Try It

    Gin and berries are a fantastic combination and the Blackberry Sidecar is a stunning example.

    This recipe plays off the timeless Sidecar cocktail, bringing in a fresh sweetness that only a handful of berries can add. It is simple, easy and ideal for spring brunch or summer afternoons in the garden.

    You will also find this cocktail a perfect excuse for trying out plum bitters. Sometimes the smallest additions...MORE make the biggest impact and this one is fun!

    This gin is special because it adds berries (blueberry and blackberry) to the recipe. It is not your traditional gin and that is perfectly fine!

    When you are ready to experience gin in an entirely new way and mix up fun drinks like this Blackberry Sidecar, Brockmans is the perfect choice.

  • 10 of 10
    Barbary Coast Cocktail
    Gin, Scotch and rum combine for a delightful Barbary Coast cocktail with the slightest hint of chocolate and cream. It's a delight!. Rob Palmer / Photolibrary / Getty Images

    Ingredients: gin, rum, Scotch, creme de cacao, cream

    Why You Should Try It

    Gin really does play well with others. It can be hard to fathom at times, especially when you are used to a full-flavored London dry gin in a Gin & Tonic, but it's true.

    The Barbary Coast is a very interesting cocktail that pairs gin with Scotch and rum. It also has a little chocolate and cream thrown in.

    I will not promise that this is the cocktail for everyone, but it is an experience and you never know until you...MORE try it! I do recommend choosing both a gin and whiskey with a softer profile.

    Recommended Gin: Right Gin

    It's not a London dry and it's not an Old Tom, Right Gin is somewhere in the middle of these two gin styles. This Swedish gin's softer profile is perfect for semi-sweet drinks and that is why it is a great candidate for the Barbary Coast.