It's tough to be a gin girl in a Wild West whiskey world. Although whiskey still dominates the conversation in most imbibing circles, gin does have a strong presence in the craft cocktail world, due to its unique botanical flavor. How each mixologist chooses to expand on that herbal base can range from sweet to tart to refreshing, depending on what you use, while still having more character to build on than an easily covered over vodka. It's that versatility that drink makers have come to love, and a lot of them that we asked, like us, will actually say that gin is their favorite spirit. Whether you're new to the gin game or just looking to mix it up, we have five cocktails in town that will spark your gin obsession.
See also: The Quest For a Good Gin and Tonic
No. 4 at Windsor Our first gin-tastic drink recommendation is simple and strong but with a lot of flavor character. The four-part combination of floral gin, tangy fresh grapefruit juice, spicy cardamom simple syrup, and acerbic hop bitters in the No. 4 cocktail at Windsor is so perfectly balanced that all components blend together, without one edging another out. Served over a large rock-style cube with fresh citrus in the center that reveals itself as the ice melts, the drink goes down quick so don't be surprised if you find yourself ordering another round. Lucky for you, it's only $5 during happy hour.
Virtu Starter Kit at Virtu Honest Craft Virtu mixologist Clint Spotleson has been around the craft cocktail game in Phoenix for a while at Jade Bar and then Mabel's on Main. We're happy he landed at Virtu in Old Town so we can combine Chef Gio Osso's amazing plates with Spotleson's flawless drinks. Expounding on the base of a martini, the Virtu Starter kit mixes Plymouth gin, moscato vermouth, grapefuit bitters and lemon soda. The result is a clean, stirred on the rocks cocktail with delicious citrus notes.
Green Thing at House of Tricks One of the best pick-me-up drinks to cure the hangover blues in town can be found at House of Tricks. The Green Thing is a muddled masterpiece of cucumber, Hendrick's gin, citrus, and simple syrup. The light sweetness plays well with the crisp, cool cucumber and floral gin notes. While the concoction is perfectly refreshing for a summer's day, we can definitely still imagine sipping one in the colder months if we need to be revived. Plus, it's nicer on the House of Tricks patio then anyhow.
Arcadia Club at Bar Crudo Mixologist Micah Olson first grabbed our attention with this cocktail when we were looking for unusual summer cocktails. Though we're completely obsessed with all of his delicious creations, we keep coming back for the Arcadia Club when we want something different. The base of Nolet's gin, raspberry syrup, Peychaud bitters and citrus could make a tasty drink alone, but this drink goes a step further, adding a velvety, frothy texture during the vigorous egg-white shaking that folks in the biz refer to as a fizz. Topped with a sprig of slapped thyme, the herbal notes begin to shine through again in an otherwise standardly fruity beverage.
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Gin and Tonic at Astor House No list of gin cocktails would be complete without the granddaddy of all gin drinks -- a solid gin and tonic, and Astor House definitely has one of the best in town. Made with one of our favorite botanical and organic gins, Farmer's, and in-house made boutique tonic, the care and attention to authenticity and flavor shines through with every sip. It's simple and sweet in all the right places with a subtle fizziness from the soda dispensers, setting the ideal for all other gin and tonics. Plus, at $5 a glass, it's certainly one of the least expensive, truly craft highballs around.