The Best Gin Cocktails Ranked

Vodka might be the most universal of the clear spirits, but booze enthusiasts know that gin is its flavorful and underrated sibling. Gin is a spirit like any other that is distilled from a grain mash, but it's the distinct notes from juniper berries that are required to be added into the blend. Aside from a required minimum of 80 proof, no two bottles of gin taste exactly alike (via Cornell Legal Information Institute).

Gin is typically characterized by its herbaceous and floral flavors. Good vodka is usually expected to be mostly flavorless, while gin is the opposite. There are endless flavors to be infused into a bottle of gin and a few styles that characterize a bottle of London Dry from a bottle of Old Tom gin.

Some people might like to drink gin straight up or have a preferred nightcap of a gin and tonic. Besides the classic cocktails like the Negroni and the martini, there are several mixed drinks that put the spotlight on gin that can sway even the most loyal vodka drinker. To help you discover a new bar order, we decided to rank some of the best gin cocktails you can order to see which are worth trying and which you should skip.

14. The Last Word

The Last Word cocktail is one of those 1920s classics that's seen a resurgence in modern-day bars, thanks to the public's desire to explore the wonderful world of gin. The spirit was invented in Detroit but was re-adopted by bars in the Pacific Northwest in more recent decades (via Vintage American Cocktails). The cocktail is heavy on flavors of citrus and cherry, thanks to the addition of maraschino liqueur and green chartreuse.

To put it lightly, the Last Word is an acquired taste. The herbal nature of dry gin helps to balance out the flavors, but green chartreuse is a powerful and peppery liqueur that isn't everyone's favorite flavor. If you can get past the bright-green color, the flavor is spicy, minty, and very earthy, which you might expect from a spirit derived from a variety of plants and spices, notes Chartreuse. It pairs well with Maraschino liqueur, which notably has a balance of bitter and sweet flavors with slight cherry notes in the background. It's not that it's a bad cocktail, it's not just exactly a drink you'd order for a crowd and expect everyone to down it without making a questioning face.

13. Gin Rickey

A gin rickey is just one of the many refreshing "rickey" drinks that will quench your thirst, both with and without alcohol. A rickey is basically any combination of lime and soda water, and it becomes a vintage cocktail once you add floral gin into the mix. According to, the first boozy rickeys were made with bourbon. However, the gin version did make an appearance in "The Great Gatsby," so it's almost become more iconic (via Austin American Statesman).

The gin rickey gets bonus points for being simple — you don't have to shake it, and, if you're a moderately-skilled bartender, you can probably eye out the proportions without needing to measure anything out. It's also a good option for those who avoid the combination of sugar and booze at all costs, whether it be for health reasons or to avoid a hangover.

The drink is basically the cross between a Tom Collins and a gin gimlet, but that almost makes it sound more interesting than it actually is. There's nothing too special about this cocktail. Sure, it's refreshing and lets the gin shine through, but it can get very boring, very quickly. Also, we believe that the Tom Collins, which is basically nearly the same drink made with lemon, is a better expression out of the two. The lightness of lemons just pairs better with gin than limes, which seems to make better friends with spirits like tequila or vodka.

12. Gimlet

While it's easy to compare a gin-based rickey with a gimlet, the gimlet is a better-executed version of the gin and lime combination. A gimlet is characterized by combining gin with lime cordial that is well-shaken with ice. Lime cordial is basically sweetened lime juice that you can make easily on your own or buy pre-made at most liquor stores. It was traditionally lime juice that was preserved in sugar that was popular among naval officers as an elixir to prevent scurvy while at sea. Naturally, the seamen would drink a little gin alongside the sour mix, and the gimlet was born (via Difford's Guide).

Our recipe for a gin gimlet recommends using a dry gin and amping up the sweetness with a little simple syrup, but the gimlet is endlessly customizable. The ratio of booze to lime cordial is typically 50-50, but some people also like throwing in fresh lime juice to make it even more refreshing. The gimlet couldn't be higher on the list because it isn't a distinct gin drink — there are gimlets made with whiskey, tequila, vodka, and more. The gin version might be a classic, but there are other ways to experience the spirit that honors its flavor a bit more.

11. French 75

A French 75 doesn't just sound sophisticated to order, but it looks like the kind of drink you'd want to carry around at a fancy dinner party. The base of the drink is a simple combination of gin, lemon, ice, and sugar shaken in a glass. The "French" part comes in once you assemble the drink and top it with bubbly Champagne. Actually, the drink gets its name from a field gun that was used by the French during World War I, but that isn't always easy to remember. The classic recipe for the French 75 has been around since at least the 1920s, but it's very likely that some booze-curious person thought about combining gin and Champagne long before then (via

The French 75 is a nice step up from a gin and tonic that swaps sparkling wine for plain tonic water. The quality of the drink heavily relies on the quality of the Champagne you're using. A good bottle used to top off this cocktail can transform it into something otherworldly, but a mismatched pairing could make you wish you just opted for club soda or tonic instead. It also isn't the drink to choose if you're someone who can't handle mixing different alcohols in one night. One glass won't hurt you, but down a few many combined drinks of gin and Champagne and you might end up with a headache the following morning.

10. Gin and Tonic

We keep mentioning the gin and tonic, so it was only a matter of time before it made an appearance on the list. This is typically the basic cocktail that introduces people to the spirit. The flavor of the gin is allowed to shine through the slightly sweet tonic that is balanced out with a healthy squeeze of lemon (or lime, if you're in a pinch). Early iterations of gin and tonics were ingested for medicinal uses in the 1800s, as tonic water contains quinine, an ingredient believed to help treat/ward-off malaria (via Chilled Magazine). Now, it's about as common as a vodka soda at any average bar.

The rich history of the gin and tonic is fascinating, but the flavor is noticeably less colorful. Sure, when you use fresh lemon juice and a good quality gin, a G&T can be otherworldly. At its core, it's just boring. It's a reliable staple you can sip on all night that doesn't have a lot of sugar or other ingredients. However, it wouldn't be right to put it as one of the best concoctions you can make with the spirit since there are other recipes that even better showcase the flavor.

9. Greyhound

Lemons and limes get the majority of the attention in the cocktail sphere, but the tart and pink grapefruit are just as worthy of citrus to add to your drink. The Greyhound cocktail, which is often also made with vodka, is a good example of how bitter grapefruit can open up even more of the floral notes of gin. The Greyhound is another pre-Prohibition cocktail that was another way drinkers showed their admiration for the spirit of choice at the time (via Ramshackle Pantry).

The combination of gin and grapefruit is a simple two-ingredient recipe to whip up when the mood strikes. It's why the plain drink, on its own, couldn't be justified to rise to the top ranks of the list of best gin cocktails. To make it more interesting, here is a recipe for a smoked Greyhound cocktail that features the added step of brûléing grapefruits, which is worth the extra effort.

8. Gin Fizz

As far as vintage cocktails go, the gin fizz is one of the more intriguing options. Mainly, it's the addition of foamy egg whites that can make modern-day drinkers turn their heads (or be turned off from the drink entirely). It's light without being watered down, and while it might seem intimidating, the ingredients are relatively simple. To make a gin fizz, you shake lemon juice, egg whites, simple syrup, and gin in a cocktail shaker. Then, pour it into a glass and top it with soda water to add even more lightness to the mix. It's not common for the gin fizz to be served over ice, but it is best enjoyed very cold in a chilled glass (via Punch).

As mentioned, egg whites aren't for everyone. However, there is a vegan alternative that makes it possible for those with dietary restrictions to enjoy the beverage. You can skip the egg whites entirely, even though you're technically making more of a Tom Collins. To get the same light and frothy effect, you can also swap egg whites for aquafaba, which is the liquid found in a can of chickpeas.

Truly, the only reason the gin fizz isn't higher on the list is that there is a similar drink that is executed slightly better, flavor-wise. Still, that doesn't mean you should be skeptical about ordering a gin fizz at a craft cocktail bar, as it's a classic for a reason.

7. Singapore Sling

Rum and tequila are the more popular spirits to include in tiki-inspired cocktails, but the Singapore Sling is gin's response to the craze that should get just as much attention. It's a bright pink and fruit-forward cocktail that is heavy on booze. It's pretty common for every recipe for the Singapore Sling to include different ingredients based on flavor preference, but it typically always includes gin, grenadine, bitters, and pineapple juice mixed in a hurricane glass. It also is common to see ingredients like cherry brandy, Cointreau, Benedictine, lime juice, and/or triple sec in the ingredients list.

The Singapore Sling was invented in its namesake country by a bartender aiming to make a drink for women. Back in the 1910s, women often were never seen drinking alcohol in public, opting for juice instead (via Mashable). The Singapore Sling is deceiving because it looks like juice, even though the amount of booze inside will have you feeling tipsy after just one cocktail.

The Singapore Sling is a good cocktail to try out at a nice craft bar. It takes a lot of ingredients to make at home which can be a hindrance. Also, it's easy to mess up the proportions and end up with an overly sweet drink. The beauty of the Singapore Sling is in its balance, and nothing is more refreshing than one that is properly made.

6. Bees Knees

Sugar or simple syrup are common sweeteners used in a variety of cocktails, but the luscious and natural flavors of honey are particularly pleasant when paired with gin. The Bees Knees cocktail is a celebration of that as the botanical nature of gin and honey blend together seamlessly, with a squeeze of lemon for brightness. It might sound overly simple, but use three quality ingredients and this cocktail can be transformative.

Honey can be thick and, especially in a chilled beverage, isn't the easiest ingredient to dissolve into a cocktail. The key to making this cocktail is making honey syrup. Basically, you cook down equal parts of honey and water to create a syrup that still is full-bodied in mouthfeel and flavor, but it makes the sweetness more cohesive from the first sip or the bottom of the glass (via Reserve Bar Cocktail Lounge). It's another drink we'd suggest ordering at a nice bar at first to understand what it's supposed to taste like before trying the recipe out on your own at home. Regardless, it's pretty easy for even a novice home bartender to successfully execute.

5. Aviation

The Aviation cocktail is as pretty to look at as it is tasty to drink. The bright purple/blue color is a result of the addition of creme de violette, a liqueur from France with a distinguished hue, says VinePair. That ingredient is shaken with gin, lemon juice, and maraschino liqueur. Maraschino liqueur is made from Marasca cherries grown on the coast of Croatia, even though it is clear in color. The cherry flavor is present yet subtle in this boozy liquid that is accompanied by a slight nuttiness. It's mostly bitter, but it's balanced out with a bit of sweetness for a smooth finish (via Cocktail Society).

The Aviation cocktail is just the right amount of sophistication without being unattainable. It's not too sweet, especially if you don't have too heavy of a hand with the creme de violette. There is tartness from the lemon, floral notes from the gin and creme de violette, and a fruity bitterness from the maraschino liqueur. It's one of those cocktails to order at a bar because everyone will be asking what you're sipping on.

4. Tom Collins

We keep mentioning the name Tom Collins, it's about time we talk about the cocktail with a cheeky past. The name sounds like that of a person rather than a refreshing drink, and that's partially by design. In the mid-1870s, it was common for people to use the name Tom Collins to fool their friends. Someone would mention to a friend that a man named Tom Collins was talking badly about them around town. The person, confused about who Tom was, would ask around for the man who was allegedly tarnishing their name. One jokester bartender took it a step further by naming a drink after the fictional character so that if anyone came in the bar asking for him, they'd be met with a Tom Collins drink instead (via Business Insider).

There are many drinks in the "Collins" family that use other booze, but the combination of London Dry gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda is the traditional recipe. To put it simply, it's the boozy version of lemonade that is always a satisfying order, which is what puts it a bit above the classic gin and tonic on the list.

3. Classic martini

The classic martini is one of the most ubiquitous cocktails of all time, not just in the gin family. It's pretty common to see martini lists at cocktail lounges, many of which feature vodka as the base booze. Gin is the classic way to enjoy this drink, as James Bond intended. The original recipe, which was first written in a book published in the 1880s, featured gin, sweet vermouth, orange curacao, gum syrup, bitters, and a lemon twist, notes Difford's Guide. The original martini was sweet, but the recipe evolved over the years to be drier and more simplified. Now, a classic martini will typically feature London Dry gin, dry vermouth, and a lemon twist. Or, if you prefer a dirty martini, that's when you get an olive in your drink.

As you might expect from such a legendary drink, its origins are a bit murky, adds Smithsonian Magazine. However, the city of Martinez, California proudly proclaims itself to be the home of the drink. The story goes that a miner during the California Gold Rush headed to Martinez to celebrate a successful haul. The bartender gave him a signature drink he dubbed the Martinez, which eventually was shortened to be called the martini we know today (via the City of Martinez).

2. Clover Club

The Clover Club is that elevated version of a gin fizz we mentioned previously that is painfully underrated. It's a fruity version that somehow makes the classic even more refreshing, while still including those foamy egg whites that make it so special. The drink was invented in the late 1800s in Philadelphia and originally included gin, lemon juice, raspberry syrup, and egg whites. Even though its origins were in Pennsylvania, the vintage drink saw a renewed interest in the 2000s when a Brooklyn cocktail bar adopted the Clover Club name in its honor (via Nowadays, many bartenders swap raspberry syrup for fresh raspberries muddled in simple syrup to add even more fresh tartness to the drink.

The Clover Club is the cocktail for those people who truly believe they will never like gin. Maybe it's true and the fragrant spirit isn't for them, and we can't blame them. We do advise that before you swear off gin for good, at least try one well-made Clover Club to change your mind. Odds are, you will be shocked to learn that there is even booze in it, let alone gin.

1. Negroni

The king of all gin-based drinks has to be the Negroni. It may be controversial, especially considering it is James Bond's second drink of choice, but we believe it's the best the spirit gets. The Negroni comes together almost too easily as it's just a combination of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth garnished with an orange twist. It's the magic mix that results in a stiff drink that you definitely should sip slowly. It's slightly bitter but balanced. The complex drink has seen a steady rise in popularity among U.S. drinkers, if only because the bright red beverage photographs beautifully for Instagram shots.

The Negroni originated in Florence in the 1910s when a bartender was tasked to make a riff on the Americano cocktail that contained even more booze. Now, the Negroni has become even more popular than its original inspiration and it's one of those drinks that will seemingly never go out of style (via Conde Nast Traveler).