Gin Cocktails: Timeless Classic

The two top-sellers at Bramble are, unsurprisingly, the bar’s namesake and the Mint 500 – the latter a Hendrick’s drink with the familiar flavours of apple, elderflower, vanilla, basil and mint. 

“We’re putting more time into making sure we have a well-curated selection of gins and trying to find things that are maybe a little less well-known or have a point of difference, whether it is abv, country of origin or unusual botanicals,” Hughes says. 

Another consequence of this is a dip in quality. says Philip Duff, director of education for Tales of the Cocktail and owner of Door 74 in Amsterdam (#26 in The World’s 50 Best Bars 2014). “There’s a lot of crap coming out, let’s get that clear. I don’t mean brands whose image I don’t like, or whose flavour profile doesn’t suit me. I mean poorly distilled gin, with distilling faults. It’s an inevitable consequence of the explosion in craft distilling that’s taken place.

“You’re not going to become Tanqueray, G’Vine or Hendrick’s overnight,” adds Duff. “You need to have a five-year plan. 

“Solve a problem for cocktail drinkers: what does your gin do that others don’t? Solve a problem for bartenders: how does your brand make their life easier, or more pleasant? 

“Don’t try to be all things to all people – you’ll wind up being nothing to everyone. And make sure it’s easy for bartenders to pour from the bottle,” Duff said. 


Price is another consideration. 

“Gin offers very good value for money at every tier, from value to super-premium, and is a far easier switch (price-wise and psychologically) from vodka than any other typically unaged spirit (pisco, much tequila, aquavit) and certainly than typically aged spirits such as whisky and brandy.” 

Brands vying for space in the market would do well to listen. A 70cl bottle of Bulldog London Dry gin retails for £21. “Bulldog is quite premium – it is distilled four times – but without the premium price,” Bianca Hepworth, Bulldog London Dry Gin UK brand ambassador of The Proud Archivist says. “The price makes it a popular choice for bartenders. That, and it is an easily mixable drink that stands up to anything.” Long before her affiliation with the brand, Hepworth used to train bartenders with Bulldog. “You can always make a wicked drink with Bulldog, because it goes with everything,” she says. 


While there might be some disagreement on trends, it would seem everyone is in agreement that the versatility of gin is what makes it such a popular choice among bartenders. 

“It’s easy to work with, it’s wonderfully versatile and nearly everybody likes it. You don’t run the risk of being perceived to be ‘wasting’ good liquor in a cocktail, which sometimes is an accusation thrown at bartenders working with aged spirits – though I never really understood that myself,” says Jake Burger. 

But, he warns: “Increasingly, people are becoming a bit more precious about gin, I’ve had a few guests ask me recently if they are spoiling their gin by adding tonic.” Close your ears Fever-Tree.

Not a cocktail per se, but the Spanish style G&T serve is gaining in popularity. “It is really happening in England now, with the copa glasses and the multiple garnishes. I think this trend will grow for a while yet,” Burger adds.