Gin is a master of disguise. The clean, botanical tones of the clear spirit appear to take a backseat to more dominant flavors—but without gin, a cocktail’s overall luster would be lost. To truly appreciate the magic of gin’s undercover effect, try five cocktails that pair the spirit with strong-willed companions like blood orange, Madeira, Campari and cloves. You’ll find that these drinks are all the better for their crisp, incognito base that allows every key player a moment in the spotlight.
As winter lurks, so does peak citrus season. Celebrate that sweet-tart bounty with a bushel of blood oranges, and save a few for muddling into this reviving gin cocktail. Sage acts as earthy companion to the citrus, and when shaken with an egg white, the finished drink looks as though it’s crested with freshly fallen snow. Get the recipe for the Blood Sage.
It takes considerable skill to develop a three-ingredient drink that earns a “ten-out-of-ten,” as this cocktail’s moniker indicates. Campari provides the burnt ruby hue and hint of bitterness, and is backed by fresh supporting castmates of gin and grapefruit juice. Get the recipe for the Dieci E Lode.
What’s better than one gin cocktail? A punch bowl’s worth. Satisfy a throng of thirsty guests with a warming blend of gin and Madeira, generously spiced with cloves and nutmeg and studded with fresh citrus and pineapple. Pair each cup with a slice of gingerbread and let the punch cast its spell. Get the recipe for the Hendrick’s Hot Gin Punch.
Dark and sultry, the star of this glass is Dubonnet Rouge, a French aperitif that was first introduced in 1846 to make quinine more palatable for soldiers battling malaria in North Africa. Its complex mix of fortified wine, quinine and a proprietary blend of herbs, spices and peels lends sophisticated, port-like flavors when married with gin and bitters. Get the recipe for the Dubonnet Cocktail.