glass of gin over ice on bar with bartending tools and sliced limes

How to Drink Gin: Everything You Need to Know

Gin is a clear liquor that has a hint of juniper for a unique flavor, aroma, and drinking experience. While it’s a similar liquor to vodka, it has a distinctive taste that you won’t find in other clear liquors because of the wide range of botanicals that are often found in gin. 

For this reason, it’s important to learn more about what gin is and how to drink it. Plus, why not dabble in a new boozy beverage? You never know; it might become your favorite.

That said, this article takes you through everything you need to know about gin. We cover what gin is, how potent it is, where you can find it, and even some great recipes you can try today. What’s more, we’ll show you how to drink gin like a pro.

Read on to learn more below.

What Is Gin?

Gin is a clear liquor that’s made from distilling a base grain. To better understand gin, learning about how it’s made will make all the difference. 

First, gin is derived from a base grain of wheat or barley. This base grain is then fermented, and once the fermentation process is complete, it’s distilled. While this may seem similar to other types of liquor, the clear difference with gin is that the primary flavor has to consist of juniper berries. In fact, this is required by law.

Aside from juniper flavors, gin is usually made with other botanicals. The goal of a good gin is to have a clear liquor that’s potent, unique, and smooth. Most gin makers accomplish this goal with their unique botanicals and flavors, which makes gin a more varied liquor than some other options like vodka. For this reason, there is often a gin for every flavor palette.

What Is the Alcohol Content of Gin?

Gin doesn’t have a set standard alcohol content. This means that it can vary based on who makes the gin, the botanicals used, and even the base grain. For this reason, it’s common to see a range of 40-60% alcohol by volume (ABV). 

Gin is typically 80 proof as well, but it can be higher depending on who distilled the gin. You can always check the label if you’re unsure about the alcohol content.

How to Serve Gin?

Gin can be served in a handful of ways. Feeling classy? Use a mixer and create a Negroni with some extra ingredients. Feeling like getting buzzed as soon as possible? Pour your favorite gin into a shot glass and knock back a couple with your friends. Ultimately, you can serve gin in many ways based on how you want to enjoy the drink, the type of evening you want to have, and where you are.

What Is a Serving Size of Gin?

The serving size of gin can vary based on how you drink the alcoholic beverage. However, the standard serving size is 1.5 fluid ounces. This is about what you’ll find in a shot glass or in a small cocktail. When bartenders mix gin with other drinks, they’ll often use a jigger to add the necessary servings of gin to a cocktail.

Can You Drink Gin Straight?

Yes, you can drink gin straight. It’s one of the best clear liquors to drink straight because of its botanical flavors. Gin is often consumed as shots, neat (in a glass without ice), or sometimes on-the-rocks (in a glass with ice). 

Some popular drinks, like a gin martini, also consist of straight gin. For people who want to preserve the flavor of a straight gin drink but want a little more flavor, dirty martinis with olives are a great way to enjoy a mostly straight gin drink.

What Are the Best Mixers for Gin?

The best mixers for gin vary based on what you’re looking for. For example, you can preserve most of the gin flavor without adding any other significant flavor with a tonic or seltzer mixer. 

You can then add the flavors you like by including lemon, lime, orange, or any other garnish that you prefer. People will also add cherry juice and other juices to a gin and tonic for a more exotic flavor experience.

Another great mixer for gin is something as simple as a few olives on a skewer. When added to a gin martini, it becomes a dirty gin martini, and it balances out the botanicals of the gin well.

Some people also mix gin with other liquors in cocktails, so the possibilities are limitless because it’s a clear liquor. Ultimately, you can use any mixer that you would use for other clear liquors like vodka or even mezcal.

What Other Liquors Go Well With Gin?

Other clear liquors like vodka and tequila go well with gin, along with some light versions of rum. However, dark liquor can also go well with gin depending on the drink that you’re making. Ultimately, as a clear liquor with a wide range of botanical flavor choices, it’s a flexible liquor that you can mix with just about anything.

What Are the Best Gin Recipes?

Gin recipes vary in complexity from something as simple as a martini to as complex as a Negroni. Learn more about some common gin recipes below.

1. Gin Negroni

One of the most popular types of gin cocktails is the Negroni. It’s a bitter cocktail that combines equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, Campari, and is garnished with orange peels. This balances out the bitterness of the gin while bringing out the botanical flavors that make the gin unique. 

You can add more garnishes or simple sugars to make the drink even sweeter, so it’s flexible in that sense. Negronis are usually served in a small glass and use about 1.5 ounces of gin.

2. Gin Martini

Another popular gin drink is the gin martini. This drink can be made without any additives aside from gin in a martini glass, or you can add green olives to make it a dirty martini. Ultimately, all you need is a few ounces of gin and some olives for this famous recipe. If you’re looking to experience the botanicals that gin has to offer, a martini is the best option.

3. Gimlet 

Similar to a martini, the gimlet is a combination of gin and lime cordial. It’s been around since 1928 and has become a staple of classy drinking. Just take two ounces of gin, one ounce of lime juice, and one ounce of simple syrup, combine over ice, and then strain into a chilled glass.

Essentially, it’s a slightly more complex gin martini, but it maintains many of gin’s natural flavors. Plus, the lime cordial brings out most of the botanicals you’ll find in the gin. 

How to Prevent a Gin Hangover?

The best way to prevent a gin hangover, aside from not drinking at all, is to consume eight ounces of water for every serving of gin that you consume. The standard serving of gin is about 1.5 ounces, so try and have a glass of water with each shot or cocktail that you drink. 

You can also avoid a bad hangover by drinking gin straight or with diet mixers to avoid the sugar and salt that further dehydrates you.

How to Drink Gin Like a Pro 

gin cocktail with sliced limes by limes on wooden table

Gin is one of the more flexible liquors out there, and incorporating it into your cocktails can change the way you approach drinking. Varies botanicals can turn a boring clear liquor mixed drink, like a vodka tonic, into something filled with flavors you can appreciate, share with friends, and smile about. 

That said, gin is also smooth enough to let you get a little crazy. Feel free to throw it back in your favorite shot glass or impress your friends with a classy Negroni. 

The moral of our little gin story is that you can drink it anytime, anywhere, and at any type of event. So, what are you waiting for? Give it a try today!

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