Looking for the best gin mixers to shake up easy craft cocktails at home?
Our Gin Mixer guide offers details on the history of gin, how gin is made, the best gin brands, refreshing gin mixers and our favourite gin cocktail recipes.
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How Is Gin Made?
Wondering how gin is made?
Any gin starts life as a neutral (often grain-based) spirit. It’s essentially pure ethanol, and then flavours are added through a process called re-distillation. Gin can be made in a column or pot still.
We like to think of gin as “vodka steeped in an aromatic tea bag.” Expert distillers essentially heat pure alcohol (vodka) so it passes through a large “tea bag” filled with unique spices, herbs and citrus peel. When the pure alcohol comes in contact with this bundle of flavourful ingredients it takes on a unique gin flavour.
The flavourings can be steeped for as long as 48 hours, although some producers will distill the liquid almost immediately. Once completed, water is added to reduce the distillate to bottling strength.
So what are the most common ingredients in gin?
Gin derives its predominant flavour from juniper berries, also known as juniperus communis.
Other popular botanicals or flavourings used in gin making, besides the required juniper, often include citrus elements, such as lemon and bitter orange peel, as well as a combination of other spices, which may include anise, angelica root and seed, orris root, licorice root, cinnamon, almond, cubeb, savory, lime peel, grapefruit peel, dragon eye, saffron, baobab, frankincense, coriander, grains of paradise, nutmeg and cassia bark.
The different combinations and concentrations of these aromatic botanicals in the distillation process cause the variations in taste among different gin brands.
Best Selling Gin
Gin has certainly enjoyed a boom in popularity at cocktail bars in recent years. You’ll find fantastic premium gins distilled from Scotland to Muskoka. Here are some of the world’s best selling gins and some of our local small batch favourites:
- Gordon’s Gin: The world’s top selling gin brand is owned by Diageo. The brand’s pink iteration has undoubtedly helped to fuel its success. Gordon’s has also unveiled a line of new innovative products including two “ultra-low-alcohol” pre-mixed gin and tonic sparkling beverages and Gordon’s Gin-infused popsicles.
- Bombay Sapphire Gin: Bacardi-owned Bombay Sapphire is one of the worlds best-selling gins. Bombay Sapphire kicked off a new limited edition range with the launch of a gin inspired by summer in the English countryside.
- Tanqueray: Diageo-owned Tanqueray launched a new marketing campaign developed to shift consumers’ attention from “gimmicks” to flavour and unveiled a range of bottled ready-to-drink gin and tonics, made with its London Dry Gin and Flor de Sevilla Distilled Gin.
- Beefeater Gin: Pernod Ricard’s flagship gin brand is Beefeater. The brand launched strawberry-flavoured Beefeater Pink in 2018 and further expanded its portfolio with the debut of a new blood orange-flavoured gin.
- Seagram’s: Pernod Ricard-owned Seagram’s is a top seller having recently purchased Italian brand Malfy Gin.
- Hendrick’s Gin: Opened the door to its £13 million Gin Palace in 2018, allowing the brand to double its capacity to two million cases annually. The Scottish brand has also added to its portfolio with the launch of the limited edition summer solstice-inspired Midsummer Solstice gin.
- Edinburgh Gin: This craft distillery in Edinburgh produces a parade of flavoured gin bottles including rhubarb & ginger gin, raspberry gin, bramble & honey gin, black currant & anise, strawberry & pink peppercorn and pomegranate & rose.
- Dillon’s Distillery: This Beamsville producer makes small batch gins including rose gin, cherry gin and strawberry gin.
- Muskoka Brewery: This Ontario craft brewery produces a London Dry and spicy pink peppercorn gin.
Travel the World in Search of the Best Gin Mixers
There’s no better way to familiarize yourself with gin cocktails then by planning a vacation to visit the world’s best gin distilleries.
The world’s most famous gins can be found in the United Kingdom as well as neighbouring Ireland. The booming gin trend has produced a high demand for premium gins produced by distilleries in Canada and America.
We’ve visited a handful of gin distilleries in Britain as well as a chic gin cocktail bar at the Shangri-La Hotel in Taipei. The gin craze has officially travelled from England to North America, Asia and beyond!
In Scotland we visited Edinburgh Gin for a tour and tasting before enjoying a road trip to the Isle of Islay, which is best known for its famous Islay whisky distilleries. One of the best things to do on the Isle of Islay is pay a visit to Bruichladdich Distillery, which produces its signature Scotch as well as Botanist Gin.
In Brighton we visited a tiny micro-distillery called Brighton Gin, one of the best things to do in Brighton for G&T fans. We also stayed at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire to sip our way through the jaw-dropping home of renowned Bombay Sapphire.
Looking to plan the ultimate gin lovers road trip of Canada?
Our favourite Canadian gins include Ungava in Quebec, Tawse and Dillon’s in Niagara, Muskoka Brewery in Ontario cottage country, Kinsip House of Fine Spirits in Prince Edward County, North of 7 in Ottawa, Dixon’s in Guelph, Eau Claire Distillery in Alberta, Blackfox in Saskatoon, Ironworks Gin in Nova Scotia and Long Table Distillery in British Columbia.
Bartender Tools & Cocktail Equipment for Gin Mixers
Before purchasing a selection of gin mixers for a swanky soiree you’ll need to ensure you have the best bartender tools and cocktail equipment.
- Cocktail Kit: cocktail kits are the perfect gift for newbie mixology fans as they include basic bartender tools like a jigger, shaker and spoon.
- Cocktail Shaker: a bartenders best friend. Purchase a premium cocktail shaker to muddle or shake up your favourite gin mixers.
- Cocktail Glassware: make sure your bar is stocked with a selection of unique glassware to show off your favourite cocktail creations.
- Hawthorne Strainer: this unique strainer features tightly wound coils and perforated holes. It keeps ice and other large ingredients like lime wedges in your cocktail shaker rather than in the glass.
- Bar Spoons: slender and long bar spoons are a must-have when stirring drinks.
- Bottle Opener: easily open bottles of beer or cider with the flick of your wrist or purchase a corkscrew for fine wine.
- Pouring Spout: once you’ve opened a new bottle of gin insert these affordable pourers to make cocktail assembly a breeze.
- Cutting Board: purchase a petite cutting board for your bar to slice garnishes or citrus wedges like lime, orange, lemon or grapefruit.
- Ice Bucket: chill bottles of gin quickly in an ice bucket or keep by the bar when muddling gin mixers into cool creations.
- Ice Crusher: fans of the Mint Julep love an ice crusher.
- Ice Cube Kit: we suggest purchasing a selection of ice cube trays. Silicone styles are our favourite as they’re easy to clean and are available in various shapes and sizes.
- Jigger: use a jigger to accurately measure spirits, juices, syrups and shrubs.
- Juicer: invest in an electronic juicer or buy an affordable hand-held to easily juice fresh citrus like lemons and limes.
- Muddler: fans of the Mojito love a sturdy muddler to mix mint and lime. Muddler’s are handy for any cocktail featuring ingredients that need a pounding like fresh herbs or citrus wedges.
- Citrus Peeler & Zester: adorn your craft cocktails with a thick citrus peel or finer ribbons of lime or lemon zest.
- Rimmer: Bloody Mary and Caesar lovers should outfit their bar with a handy rimmer for salting and sugaring glassware.
Best Gin Mixers
Looking to purchase the best mixers for gin for your next cocktail party? Read our comprehensive gin mixer list below to get creative ideas for your homemade happy hour.
We’ve included simple mixers you’ll need to make classic cocktails like the gin martini. You’ll also find unique gin mixers like carrot juice, pomegranate juice, chocolate and Seedlip.
A fun idea is to gather your favourite gays and girlfriends to host a Gin Mixer Party. Tell each guest to bring a juice, tonic or homemade syrup, potluck-styles.
Why not muddle gin cocktails with your special someone on Valentine’s Day, during the holidays at a Christmas or New Years Party or when you’re looking for a thirst-quenching sip on a hot summer day to rival your favourite glass of wine?
Gin and Soda
Of all the gin mixers simple soda water is the most popular. If you’re looking for sparkling water use Club Soda, Soda Stream or brands like Perrier or San Pellegrino.
Gin and Tonic
Ask any bartender and they’ll tell you the most popular mixer for gin is tonic water. The most ordered gin cocktail is the Gin & Tonic, typically served with a wedge of lime.
Tonic is a carbonated soft drink in which quinine is dissolved. Originally used as a prophylactic against malaria, tonic water now has a significantly lower quinine content and is consumed for its distinctive bitter flavour, though it is nowadays also often sweetened.
Gin and Peach Juice
Pluck a plump peach in the hot heat of summer and juice it at home to create a sublime DIY gin cocktail. You can also purchase store bought peach juice, or puree frozen peaches in your blender at home. Don’t forget to strain!
Gin and Pineapple
Take a pause on pina coladas and infuse your next gin drink with tropical pineapple juice.
Gin and Cherry Juice
You can use cherry flavour as a gin mixer in a multitude of ways. We love adding cherry flavoured grenadine syrup, tart cherry juice or make our own homemade cherry juice by blending and staining freshly plucked cherries in the summer.
Gin and Tomato Juice
Forget Blood Mary’s and Canadian Caesars spiked with vodka. The new trendy savoury sip features premium gin shaken or stirred with sweet tomato juice.
Gin and Lemon
Citrus is a classic pairing for herbaceous gin. Our favourite is incorporating slightly sweet and tart lemon. You can use freshly squeezed lemon juice or lemonade.
Gin and Lime
If you’re looking for a more tart taste infuse your gin drinks with lime. You can use freshly squeezed lime juice or limeade.
Gin and Orange
Add the essence of orange in a multitude of ways. Fancy fresh? Why not juice naval oranges, blood oranges, tangerines or clementines? We also enjoy adding Aperol, a bitter orange flavoured liqueur from Italy.
Gin and Grapefruit
Pack a punch with pamplemousse when hosting your next gin party. Juicy grapefruit offers a blissful balance between tart and sweet.
Gin and Strawberry
There are many ways to enjoy strawberry flavoured gin drinks. You can purchase strawberry juice or during the summer when the berries are in season simply blitz in your blender and pass through a sieve.
Gin and Cucumber Juice
Cucumbers are well known for being the most hydrated vegetable, containing over 95% water. Blend fresh cucumbers in your blender and pass through a sieve for a nutritious gin mixer. Pickles are of course prepared with cucumber so you can have some sweet & sour or salty dill fun too!
Gin and Celery Juice
Celery is also 95% water and its refreshing vegetable vibe makes for thirst quenching summer drinks.
Gin and Beet Juice
Did you just encourage me to put beets in my drink? Yes, yes I did! We love roasted beetroot salad just as much as we love beet juice muddled in our gin drinks.
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Gin and Carrot Juice
We try to incorporate carrots into our diets any way we can to improve our eye health. There’s no better way to serve up a glass of guilt-free nutrition then a carrot juice cocktail muddled with premium gin.
Gin and Earl Grey Tea
Looking to indulge in a fantastic and feminine ode to boozy high tea? Earl grey is a black tea flavoured with floral oil of bergamot. Boil up a hot pot and use the cooled elixir as a tea-infused gin mixer.
Gin and Sweet Iced Tea
Sweet Tea is all the rage in the American South. We’ve sipped sweet tea on a hot day in Fort Lauderdale, Savannah and New Orleans. For a truly memorable meal, head to Paula Deen’s The Lady & Sons in Georgia to enjoy sweet tea muddled with gin.
Gin and Passionfruit Juice
You can add the delightful tang of passionfruit to your gin drinks by adding store bought juice or by muddling the fresh fruit in a cocktail shaker.
Gin and Ginger
There are endless ways to enjoy the zesty bite of ginger in cocktails. Stock your bar fridge with ginger ale, non-alcoholic Caribbean ginger beer, alcoholic British Ginger Beer or fresh organic ginger juice.
Simply put, seltzer is just plain ol’ water, carbonated by adding carbon dioxide. You can purchase flavoured Seltzer’s like Bubly, or hard alcoholic Seltzer’s like White Claw or Fit Hard Soda. Both can be used when mixing gin cocktails.
Gin and Coke
Coca Cola is a classic. Who doesn’t love a Cuba Libre?! If you’ve got a cold can of Coke loitering in the back of your fridge liven it up with a whisper of gin.
Gin and Italian Soda
Our favourite gin mixer to use in a last minute pinch is Italian Soda like San Pellegrino Limonata. There are many other brands that offer flavourful sparkling juices that can be perfected with a shot or two of gin.
Gin and Vermouth
Gin and vermouth are a classic pairing. You’ll find the duo dancing in your glass if you order a classic gin martini or gin sling.
Vermouth isn’t a spirit but a fortified wine—a flavoured, aromatized wine that’s had its ABV boosted with some kind of neutral alcohol (such as clear grape brandy) and been flavoured with a variety of herbs, botanicals, and spices. Historically, the way vermouth was flavoured categorized it as either red (associated with Italy) or white/dry (associated with France).
Gin and Campari
Gin and campari are a match made in Italian cocktail heaven. The aperitif’s unique flavour is obtained via the infusion of herbs and fruit (including chinotto and cascarilla) in alcohol and water. It is a bitter, characterized by its dark red colour.
The Negroni, perhaps one of the most famous gin cocktails, features gin, campari, sweet vermouth and orange peel.
Gin and Chocolate
Chocolate offers a complex flavour profile for cocktails, available in a variety of bars, chips and syrups such as white chocolate, dark chocolate and milk chocolate. If you’re using a dark chocolate you’ll have a more bitter product, while milk and white chocolate offer a subtle sweetness.
Chocolate can be incorporated as a gin mixer into cocktails using cocoa, bakers chocolate, premium chocolate bars, chocolate syrup or even chocolate milk. Chocolate gin cocktails are particularly popular during the holiday season.
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Gin and Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice is our favourite tart juice to muddle with gin as it makes our cheeks seriously pucker.
The iconic Vodka Cran can be easily replicated (and made better in our opinion) by swapping out vodka for gin. You’ll also find plenty of festive Christmas gin cocktail recipes dripping in cranberry juice.
Gin and Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranate juice is high in antioxidants, making it an excellent gin mixer for the health conscious cocktail connoisseur. You can enjoy pomegranate in your drinks by using fresh juice or a concentrated syrup, which you can dilute with soda.
Gin and Lychee Juice
Lychee is a tropical tree native to the Guangdong and Fujian provinces of southeastern China, where cultivation is documented from the 11th century. It’s wildly available across Asia and used by local bartenders as a seductive sweetener at luxury resorts in Bali, Langkawi, Thailand and the Philippines.
Lychee has a distinctive flavour, often described as rose-floral or fruity-floral in aroma.
Gin and Watermelon Juice
Melons have a high concentration of water so when juiced make a great gin mixer when they’re fresh from the farmers market.
You can use a variety of juiced melons for gin cocktail hour, each will impart a different flavour and colour to your drink. Watermelon is pink, cantaloupe is orange, honeydew is light green.
Since melons are so large and yield so much juice, we love to make melon gin mixers for a crowd at a summer barbecue or hot day on the dock at the cottage.
Gin and Sparkling Wine
The classic French 75 cocktail is a perfect champagne sipper. Prosecco also offers a pretty pétillance when paired with fruit juices and flavoured liqueurs.
Gin and Coffee
Hear me out. I know you’re used to only drinking Nespresso in the morning with a whisper of Baileys, but many java fans keen on the bean are well aware the world’s most famous caffeinated drink also works well when gently stirred with gin.
Enjoy coffee in your cocktail as a fresh shot of espresso, brewed coffee or cold brew.
Gin and Coconut
You can utilize fresh coconut when mixing drinks at home by using thick coconut cream, coconut milk or refreshing coconut water.
Gin and Elderflower
Elderflower is subtle, tasting a little bit like pear, more of a perfume than a taste. Cordials and liqueurs have a reputation for sweetness, to preserve the fruit. Elderflower is therefore typically used in small proportions by mixologists.
Infuse gin mixed drinks with the flavour of elderflower by adding non-alcoholic cordial, St Germain liqueur, flavoured sparkling water or flavoured cider.
Gin and Apple Juice
There are such a variety of fresh apples and store bought apple juices available you really can go to town when experimenting with apples as a gin mixer.
If you’re juicing your own apples we suggest leaving the skins on as they help impart a distinguishing colour. Pressed granny smith apples will offer a light green hue, while gala or pink lady apples will appear pink.
During the Fall and Winter season its commonplace to find farmers markets selling non-alcoholic apple cider, typically spiced with cinnamon.
Gin and Cider
Hard ciders have been all the rage over the past few years as it became more trendy to enjoy gluten free brewed beverages instead of beer. We enjoy mixing gin with both French cider from Normandy or British and Irish style ciders like Bulmers or Strongbow.
Gin and Beer
Fans of craft beer are already in the know that award winning breweries produce flavourful sud-sloshers that muddle well with spicy gins.
While there are many gin cocktail recipes that use light lagers, our favourite craft beers to muddle into mixed drinks are hoppy IPAs and funky sours.
Gin and Seedlip
England’s Seedlip is the world’s first non-alcoholic spirit brand. Over the last few years it has emerged as the market leader in the placebo cocktail game.
Cocktails muddled with Seedlip are perfect for those who are not drinking alcohol for whatever reason, which in this day and age covers a myriad of moments: when you’re pregnant, on medication, acting as designated driver, at a work lunch, when you have an early start the next day or are simply celebrating sobriety.
While Seedlip is most commonly associated with the placebo, non-alcoholic cocktail movement, its flavourful Garden, Grove and Spice bottles offer a dreamy infusion of spices, herbs, barks and fruit to a boozy cocktail brunch.
Gin and Lavender
Lavender is as romantic as it gets when it comes to infusing florals at cocktail hour. You can flavour gin mixed drinks with lavender by using store bought products like lavender lemonade, lavender syrup or lavender tea.
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