You may think gin is something you drink only on hot summer nights or in the occasional Martini with oysters, but you can take this spirit to new levels all winter long. With notes of pine, purple flowers, lemons, roots and warming spices, gin is perfect for cold-weather-inspired cocktails. These six recipes will having you sipping gin by the fireplace in no time.
1: FOREST SPRITE
This whimsical pine-laced gin cocktail tastes like someone folded up the forest floor and put it in a glass. Using a floral juniper-forward gin works well with heavy pine syrup, which you can make yourself by harvesting new fronds from that tree outside. Drink this after tromping through the woods, by the fire or whenever you want a winter drink that’s also refreshing.
2: COFFEE & CIGARETTES
It’s time to stop thinking about the Gin & Tonic as a basic two-ingredient recipe. Case in point is this coffee-laced cocktail by Alan Berger of Denver’s Ultreia, which marries the bitterness of java with the sweet tang of tonic. Berger uses a Colorado gin, with its notes of cardamom and cinnamon, as well as coffee liqueur. The result is smoky, sweet, warm and herbal all at once—perfect for the cold weather.
3: GOLDEN PURL
A purl is an old-school English drink classically involving hot ale with or without warming spices and a nice dollop of gin. In this recipe, the ale is replaced with warm sparkling cider. Sound weird? On the contrary, the fizz adds a refreshing essence and works well with the booze. The maple adds a hefty, buttery quality to the mix. You may sip this drink and think it’s laden with citrus, but save for the bitters and garnish, there’s none. If you want something with a little less oomph, opt for nonalcoholic cider.
4: FRENCH HARVEST
To adapt this classic French 75 for the colder months, give it a cider kick. The floral Nolet’ssilver dry gin works so well with this slightly funky and refined cidre from France it’s enough to make you forget the traditional Champagne version. You can swap out the cider and gin with other brands—just make sure the former is dry.
5: CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT, YOU KNOW
“This cocktail celebrates the roads less traveled and the curious flavors you find through the high mountains of Germany, France and Italy,” says McLain Hedges, of Morin and RiNo Yacht Club in Denver. “The Macvin du Jura [liqueur wine] is floral and honeyed, with light tannin that helps to carry the cocktail. The génépy is herbal and sweet, lifting and adding depth at the same time. The gin is powerful yet balanced and has layers upon layers of aromatics and textures.” It’s like a classic Hot Toddy but smooth, sophisticated and perfectly balanced.
6: APPLE CHAI G&T
Using a smooth American dry gin such as Bluecoat works well with this delicate Gin & Tonic by Canyon Shayer of Philadelphia Distilling. The apple chai syrup proves not too sweet, with nuances light enough that you don’t want a strong spirit to overpower them. It’s warm, refreshing and boozy all at once and almost too easy to drink. If you want more of a chai punch, try steeping the tea in the cider overnight or doubling up on the amount. Serve at happy hour or as a fun brunch cocktail.