The sophisticated man and woman’s vodka, gin carries an air of high society with it. While vodka is meant to be neutral in flavor, gin is enhanced with an often secret blend of botanicals like juniper, citrus zest, and cardamom to give it flavor, for those who prefer to delight in the taste of spirits and not just their intoxicating effect. Gin has a history of being made surreptitiously in people’s homes, and the optional quality-control standards of ‘bathtub gin’ often made for spirits that were dangerous and sometimes downright poisonous. Despite its sordid past as a venomous hooch that cost many Americans their health and lives due to bootleg production during Prohibition, it has emerged as a classy spirit of choice.
While there has been a consistent line up of solid gin brands such as Beefeater and Plymouth, the recent renaissance of craft distilling means an even wider selection of small-batch quality gins on the market that offer different flavor profiles to suit your palate. Here are the essential three-ingredient gin cocktails that pretty much anyone can feel classy making, serving, and drinking.