Can gin kick-start your kidneys and bladder? Sort of. Like its neutral cousin vodka, gin begins as a grain-based liquor, but it gains distinction with the infusion of juniper berries, an evergreen shrub used as medicine in times past to treat kidney and bladder diseases. Taken in large quantities, gin tends to cause issues with those organs but consumed as it should be, in small amounts, this is a refined spirit imbued with subtle herbal helpers. In fact, each distiller adds as many as a dozen flavor botanicals—ranging from orange peel to coriander, cassia, fennel, and the like—to give gin an aromatic nature that makes for a sublime cocktail base. Here, Kristen Bronson, a bartender at New York City gastropub The Spotted Pig, shares some of her favorite gin cocktails. Or, if you want to go a simpler route, there’s always the gimlet (gin, fresh lime juice, and sugar), a brilliant classic that few people recognize as a gin drink. Whichever mix satisfies you, try gin with its best friend, ice. Cheers.
Gin And Juice
2½ ounces Tanqueray
1½ ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
Place the gin and juice in a cocktail shaker with one cup of ice. Shake until chilled. Add a dash of soda water, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with the lime twist.
1½ ounces Beefeater
1½ ounces Campari
1 ounce Carpano Antica Formula sweet vermouth soda water
Shake the first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker, then pour over ice into a highball glass. Top with the soda water, and garnish with the orange wedge.
1½ ounces Hendrick’s
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1 spoonful raw sugar
6 cucumber slices
Muddle the sugar, five cucumber slices (diced), and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Add gin and a scoop of ice. Shake, then pour into a highball glass. Top with soda water and garnish with remaining cucumber slice.