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How to Make 3 Classic Gin Cocktails

Thanks to its almost infinite number of botanicals and flavours, gin is probably the most diverse spirit. Here are three classic Aussie gin cocktails that show just how versatile this wonderful spirit can be.

From oyster shell to insects to sheep’s whey to hemp, Australian craft distillers are trying all sorts of things in their gins. And why not.

With acceptation of juniper and your base spirit, you can literally use anything you want to bring out the flavours of your gin.

The result—apart from there being an incredibly broad range of styles and flavours for us all to enjoy—is you can really craft your cocktails to the gin you’re using.

All about the gin: The Classic Gin Martini

About as pure as you can get without drinking neat gin, the Classic Martini is simply Aussie gin and dry vermouth.

Confusingly, the drier you have it, the less vermouth will be in the cocktail—but you can read more about how to order a martini here.

But above all, the Classic Gin Martini requires a really good gin and one that goes well with the garnish: green olives.

The guys at Four Pillars Distillery have crafted their Olive Leaf Gin specifically for a classic martini, so let’s use that as the example.

20ml Dry Vermouth

At least 2 green olives to garnish

1. Stir the gin and vermouth in a mixing jar with lots of ice and strain into your martini glass.

2. Garnish with the olives on a stick and, if you like, add a touch of olive brine to make your martini ‘dirty’ for an extra level of savoury.

Switch it up:

Change the garnish—make it a 'Gibson' with tiny pickled onions or 'with a twist' by adding a thin sliver of lemon peal. You can also make a ‘perfect martini’ by using 50/50 gin and vermouth.

All about the bitters: The Negroni

Seen as the perfect cocktail with an equal balance of sweet, bitter and herbaceous, the negroni is a beautiful cocktail. Aim for a gin that’s spicy or citrus forward and that has plenty of flavour. Navy strength gins work well here.

30ml vermouth rosso

30ml bitter orange like Applewood’s Okar Island Bitter (or Campari if you must!)

1. Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass full of ice for at least 30 seconds.

2. Strain into a tumbler with either lots of ice or a one giant ice cube and garish with an orange slice.

Switch it up:

Swap out vermouth rosso and Campari for sweet vermouth and Suze for a negroni bianco.

All about the citrus: The Gimlet

Harking back to the days of scurvy and the British Navy, the gimlet was traditionally made with Rose’s Lime Cordial—the first shelf-stable cordial from the 1860s.

These days, we prefer fresh lime juice and sugar syrup, which means we have more control of the citrus and sweet flavours.

As such, a citrus-forward gin works beautifully here. These three citrus-forward gins would work, but we do love Stone Pine Distillery’s Original Dry Gin.

30ml fresh lime juice

20ml simple syrup

1. Add the ingredients to a shaker with plenty of ice and shake until ice forms on the outside.

2. Strain into a martini or coup glass and serve up with a garnish of your choice—usually a lime wheel but you can be creative. Try an Aussie native flower—just make sure it’s not poisonous!

Switch it up:

Halve the lime juice and add 15ml of lemon juice, gently muddle mint leaves and you’ve got a Southside. There are other Gimlet alternatives here—as well as a bit more history of the drink.


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