I rattled off a few that I had recently, but looking back I now know I needed to give this a little more thought. So after a good bit of deliberation here are my top 5 gin cocktails all made with Plymouth Gin and in no particular order.
2 parts Gin
1 part Dry Vermouth
1 twist of lemon
Stir ingredients with ice for 20 seconds and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
This is an obvious choice for the top 5, but I don't think I would classify it as my number one pick. The version I like is an obvious tweak from the now popular Dry Martini. I'm at nearly a 2:1 ratio for Gin to Dry Vermouth. The term "Dry" Martini is a bit confusing in that it has little to no Dry Vermouth... so what makes it dry? Good question. I'm not certain where the term started and it is probably lost in history, but the term "Dry" in reference to a Martini means it has an absence of Dry Vermouth. So when I order my Martini I ask for Wet Martini along with the ratio I prefer.
1.5 parts Gin
1.25 parts Sweet Vermouth
1 part Campari
1 twist of lemon
Build in a rocks glass over ice, stir for 20 seconds, and add lemon twist.
I fell in love with this cocktail when I started playing around with Campari. Campari has a very distinct bitter flavor that is extremely unique. It takes some getting used to at first, so don't give up on first taste. I'd suggest easing into it. The traditional Negroni recipe calls for equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and campari, but I find a slightly dialed back Campari level yields a slightly better balance. I'd suggest starting with just a few drops of Campari at first and then increase its quantity slowly until you get to a level you like best.
Gin & Tonic
2 oz Gin
0.25 oz Fresh Lime Juice
Fill Tonic Water
1 dash of bitters of choice (optional)
Build over ice in a rocks glass and stir.
This very simple yet elegant cocktail is my go to drink to relax. I'm not much of a beer person so when I'm in a place that it has become apparent that a beer or liquor and mixer are my only choices I go for a G&T. A typical G&T calls for gin, tonic and a wedge of lime on the glass. However when I'm making them at home I forgo the wedge of lime that I would normally squeeze into the drink and add it in at the bar. In addition I add one dash of bitters from my collection.
2 oz Gin
1 oz Roses Lime Juice
1 wedge of Lime
Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wedge.
There is a constant debate about roses or fresh lime juice in the gimlet. As a cocktail historian I will tell you Lauchlin Rose convinced the British Navy to use his new Lime Cordial to ward off scurvy back in 1867. The Navy officers would then mix this with their ration of gin and the Gimlet was born. An officer and surgeon named Sir Thomas Gimlette is credited with making the cocktail popular between 1879 and 1913. (4)
There are many who believe a Gimlet should be made with fresh lime juice and simple syrup. Normaly I would strongly agree that cocktails should be made with fresh juices, but in the case of the a Gimlet, Roses is in order. See this article for more info on this topic.
When I make a Gimlet I do it in a traditional manner with Roses. I believe a fresh lime/simple syrup gin cocktail is actually a Gin Daiquiri.
2 oz Gin
1 oz Orange Cuacao
0.25 oz Lime Juice
2 dash Angostura Bitters
2 dash Orange Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
This is a fantastic cocktail that unfortunately you generally can't order by name in just about any bar. You might be able to order this cocktail if you tell the bartender 2 parts gin, 1 part orange cuacao, a splash of lime juice, and bitters.
So there you have my top 5. There are many, many more gin cocktails that also extremely good and I had a tough time narrowing it down to these. I'm sure next week I'll probably change my mind.