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Nashville rediscovers Gin cocktails: Knowing what to use makes the difference.

French 75 made with Plymouth Gin and a lemon float garnish.

Gin is making a big national comeback and Nashville is starting to get in on the resurgence. Bartenders all around Music City are creating fantastic concoctions and turning on a whole new generation of drinkers to Gin. However, if you’re one of those folks that think drinking Gin is something a kin to sucking on a Christmas tree then let me say–I understand. It’s doubtless that like millions of others your first experience with Gin was a bad one. Ordering a Tanqueray Martini when you’re 21 seems like the thing to do but after a few sips Gin becomes as desirable as a root canal for most people. Sound familiar? Well, that’s the way I felt too until I started playing with classic gin cocktail recipes some years back and my eyes were opened to a world of amazing tastes.

Straight Gin is an acquired taste and thus this is a spirit that is best experienced for the first, or second, time mixed in a cocktail because Gin and its myriad of botanical flavors plays well with many other cocktail ingredients. Classics cocktails such as the Gimlet have stood the test of time not because they taste like a pine tree coated in Lysol but because they’re delicious. That is as long as you use the right kind of Gin for the cocktail.

The best-known Gins in Nashville, and the nation for that matter, are of the London Dry style. These Gins are quite bold in their flavors, dry as the name implies, and can dominate any cocktail that doesn’t contain other bold, or bitter, ingredients found in drinks like the Negroni. For this reason the Gin novice should start with lighter Gin cocktails to develop their palate and look for brands such as Plymouth, Millers, or for the cost conscious, New Amsterdam. These Gins are not as bold or dry as the London Dry style. These are soft Gins that will ad a layer of flavors and complexity in a cocktail without tasting like Gin so long as the ingredients are balanced. That is to say that no one ingredient is dominant over the other. Rather, the ingredients play off of one another to create a synergistic flavor affect. When done correctly a good Gin cocktail is complex and lingering like a good wine.

Once you’ve tried some of the classic Gin cocktails I assure you you’ll be wanting to try more creations featuring this blast from the past. You’ll be drinking a Gin Martinis in no time, but first try one of these simple recipes and become reacquainted with a true classic.

2 oz Gin
¾ oz Fresh Lime Juice
¾ oz Simple Syrup
Shake and strain into
Cocktail glass no ice

2 oz Gin
¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
¾ oz Simple Syrup
Shake and strain into cocktail glass no ice.
Top with a splash of Sparkling Wine/Champagne

To try other great Gin recipes go to: