Ye Olde Gin Bucket

Marisa Chafetz

Who, you ask, would drink gin from a bucket? Why the good folks of Indiana University of course. Hoosier tailgaters have a long history of mixing up gin punch in a bucket, mixing the spirit with Fresca, along with lemons and/or limes, before serving it via turkey basters (because drinking from ordinary Solo cups is just too inefficient). There’s even a special, slightly aged version served from the ceremonial Old Oaken Bucket, a prize won each year between Indiana and rival Purdue—which got us thinking, why not class up the lowbrow tailgate staple with a little aged gin.

This classed up riff on the Gin Bucket uses Barr Hill Tom Cat Gin in place of a standard gin. Tom Cat is a type of Old Tom gin, mellow and round from its time spent aging in a barrel. The gin is mixed with raw honey, imparting a touch of sweetness and a lot of character. The Tom Cat joins the traditional Gin Bucket mixer, Fresca, as well as Champagne to dry out the sweetness and add extra fizz. It’s typical to add lemon or lime slices to a Gin Bucket, but here orange slices sub in, bringing out notes in the gin and emphasizing the impact of the barrel even more.

The result is a far cry from the usual Gin Bucket and may seem out of place at any old Hoosiers game, but we think it’s worthy of the majestic Old Oaken Bucket. Just be sure to serve it with turkey basters—for the sake of tradition.

Sweet, Dry


  • 1 750-mL bottle Old Tom Gin
  • 1 750-mL bottle Champagne
  • 1.5 liters Fresca
  • 4 orange


Step one

Slice oranges into wheels and set aside.

Step two

Add gin and Fresca to a bucket.

Step three

When ready to serve, add a large block of ice, top with Champagne and stir briefly to incorporate.

Step four

Serve with a turkey baster.

Contributed by Supercall

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