A few years ago (and with a much more limited scope of gin experience!) I took a first shot at trying to figure out which gins worked best in a series of classic gin cocktails. Since that initial attempt, I have tried more gins than I can even attempt to count, and I’ve been waiting for the chance to revise my initial list and offer a more nuanced take on how gin works in each of these cocktails.
These cocktails have become my “canon” for reviewing a gin. They’re the old-standbys, the familiar friends whose ingredients I always have in stock. They’re the cocktails that you can go into any bar with its salt and order (perhaps the lone exception in my cabinet may be the “Last Word,” but I digress. The cocktails in the Gin Cocktail Canon are: The Gin and Tonic, Tom Collins, Gimlet, Negroni, Aviation, Martini and The Last Word. All are fine cocktails and all worthy uses of your gin. But with so many new contemporary gins out there and bold experiments on the classic London Dry out there, it is no longer safe to assume that all gins are created equal.