Gin is one of the world’s strongest spirits — and that’s not even referring to proof.
Originally used for medicinal purposes, the liquid went down a little smoother than people expected, so the English government had to introduce the Gin Act, making the libation ridiculously expensive in order to discourage people from drinking it. Of course, not even Parliament could keep its people from the venerable spirit.
According to founder of the Liquid Projects and the Craft Spirits Festival, Jennifer Massolo, “The misconceptions regarding gin are rooted in its history and still stay with some people today. Today in England, British law dictates that distillers of gin must purchase their base spirit (neutral grain spirit) from highly regulated producers, which gin producers then redistill into gin through the maceration of botanicals.”
Gin is becoming rapidly popular in Miami, with bars such as Repour and the Traymore introducing gin-and-tonic menus. To commemorate this unstoppable spirit and just in time for the summer, here are Miami’s seven best gin cocktails.
7. Parkside Sour at Glass & Vine
Eddie Fuentes and his latest project, the Cocktail Cartel, created this summer drink to complement Glass & Vine’s location in Coconut Grove’s Peacock Park. “It’s a refreshing cocktail that highlights the botanicals of Fords Gin perfectly. It’s also a detox-retox that you can take in while you enjoy the beautiful backdrop of Glass & Vine’s scenery.” The Parkside Sour combines Thai basil syrup, house citrus, fresh cucumber, and celery juice ($12).
6. Celery Negroni at the Anderson
Paying respect to the classic Negroni, the group from Bar Lab decided to do a smart spin using celery. Bar manager Josh Alperstein says, “The intention is to create a fresh garden experience for the palate. With so many different styles of gin, finding the best suited can be difficult. Rutte Celery adds earthy tones while having a crisp vegetable finish to blend perfectly with the botanical extract.” Campari, soft rosso vermouth, and four drops of Fleur de Sel solution (from the sea salt beds of western France) are also used in the celery Negroni ($10).
5. Ultimate Gin and Tonic at Bar Centro at SLS Hotel South Beach
To set the mood, this drink is served in a sexy stemless red-wine glass. After one sip, senses are overtaken by a burst of aromatic essences including juniper berries, verbena, lemon, and lime with a choice of gin ($18). According to SLS South Beach’s director of operations, Jimmy Pumarol, chef José Andrés orders these every time he visits Miami.
4. Trinidad & Ta-boo-yah at the Continental
Dennis O’Connor, food and beverage director of Starr Restaurants, describes the Trinidad & Ta-boo-yah ($14) as a tribute to the classic tart Collins. “The origins of the Tom Collins cocktail are widely debated, but the key ingredients to it are gin, lemon, and simple syrup. We put a twist on ours by giving it a tropical Caribbean feel, almost like the red solo that is near and dear to Trinidad & Tobago culture. We added passionfruit and a little depth by using bitter honey as our sweetener to get a very well-balanced cocktail to be consumed year-round.”
3. Giggle Water at Pawn Broker
This beverage, served in a miniature bathtub, is found at the Pubbelly Group’s new rooftop bar located at the historical Langford Hotel. Bar chef Derek Stilmann wanted to honor the inventive Americans of Prohibition who made gin in bathtubs at home, which he says happens when “ingenuity meets desire.” To finalize the concoction — made with Martin Miller’s gin, champagne syrup, and Fever Tree Indian tonic — Stillman adds lavender foam ($16). Before taking a sip, let the fragrant bubbles tickle your nose.
2. Gin and Tonic at AC Hotel Miami Beach
Who would be better to develop a gin-and-tonic menu than Miami’s “Ginaissance” purveyor, Jennifer Massolo? The AC Hotel’s version goes back to basics with a refreshing touch that includes a generous pour of gin and an accompanying bottle of tonic water, selected herbs, seeds, and citrus ($11). More curious guests can choose renditions such as the “Wild West,” highlighting Ransom Old Tom gin. According to Massolo, “The secret to a great gin and tonic is not only the right balance of the two but finding the right match between gin and tonic, as they are all quite different from each other.”
1. She Said Yes at Sweet Liberty
Hendrick’s Gin brand ambassador and Sweet Liberty bartender Josue Gonzalez loves gin because of its elegance and diversity. “There are so many different types of gins, all made differently. Gin has to be made with juniper, but after that, the creator can use any kind of botanicals to impart any flavor he or she desires, which makes the spirit so diverse. It’s considered a gentleman’s spirit, which also doesn’t hurt either.” The She Said Yes ($13) starts with Hendrick’s and adds complementing flavors, including cucumber, lemon, raspberries, and Fino sherry. It’s then served over crushed ice with a mint bouquet.