This is the drink you make any time for any occasion. Don't have many cocktail ingredients? Not in the mood to measure or put effort into a drink? Make a Gin and Juice!
You have probably head of a Gin and Juice, but you might not be totally sure what the deal is. For a long time I wasn't actually sure if it was bar-lingo for a specific recipe that was more than what it sounded like, or if it is literally JUST gin and juice.
Turns out it's much more the latter...
Obviously I couldn't just do a Gin and Juice post without mentioning Snoop Dogg
I'll be honest with ya here, I don't really listen to much classic rap or hip hop, but I couldn't write about Gin and Juice without talking about the one and only Snoop.
And if for some reason you are wondering why I am mentioning him, head on over to YouTube and treat yourself to his music video for Gin and Juice. If you've never heard the song get out from under your rock.
With my mind on my money, and my money on my mind.
I am actually listening to it while writing this just out of respect..
But aside from it being the title of one of the most popular hip hop songs of all time, it is also the back bone of a damn good cocktail. I say backbone because it is more of a loose guideline that's fully open to interpretation.
Different ingredients to give a try
Snoop himself seems to make it a few different ways.
Often with orange or pineapple juice, but he does a couple different tweaks like adding a little bit of apple Ciroc and soda water in a version called the "Laid Back", or he ads a splash of cranberry to make it a "Neva Left".
But try some of your own adjustments.
Start out with something close to the recipe, then mess around with adding any flavors you think would go well. Some of the notes here might seem obvious, but you can also try adding some less straight forward ingredients to make it totally unique.
Experiment with new gins
The most basic way to make this cocktail your own is choosing the gin. There are an incredible amount of different gins on the market, and the only way for you to ever find out what one you like best is to start trying a new one every time you buy!
If you want a guarantee, any of those brands above will treat you right, but I'm always looking for something new to try. There are a few distilleries near me in Buffalo NY that are making some pretty quality stuff. Tommy Rotter (which is about 500 feet from my apartment) well as Dillon's in Ontario both have really nice options.
What kind of juice is used in Gin and Juice?
Try absolutely anything that sounds good keeping in mind that if you're going with the bare bones recipe there is no sweetness other than the juice. So unless you're into super tart drinks you will want at least one juice that is sweet.
Think about using fruits that aren't juiced very often like strawberry, cherry, or raspberry.
To get juice from fruits with little seeds like that you can mash them up with a fork or potato smasher, then squeeze the juice out with a fine strainer or cheese cloth.
The most classic are orange or pineapple juice sometimes combined with a sour citrus like lemon or lime.
The majority of recipes on the internet use some combination of citrus juice which is just about impossible to screw up. I like a combination of half orange and half any sour citrus (lemon, lime, or grapefruit) if you are going the citrus route.
Clementine and tangerine are also AMAZING in drinks.
If you only want to use sour or tart juices go ahead and add some type of simple syrup to bring it back to balanced. Classic cane simple syrup would be good, but maple or honey syrup would be really nice with certain fruits too!
The only thing I would advise against here is using store bought juice. Fresh is better and it is not even that much extra work.
Other twists to try
Make it fizzy and try topping your Gin and Juice up with soda water. I'd go somewhere between one and three ounces depending on how light and bubbly you want it, but again, you cant really mess this one up.
And, if you want to get weird with it, scratch the soda and go for some mineral water, tonic, or maybe even sparkling wine.
Use unique flavor modifiers like amaro, liqueurs, or any type of herb.
This is where you take an idea and run with it. If it sounds interesting to you try it! Maybe it's really good, or maybe it turns out garbage, but ya won't know 'till ya try.
Fresh herbs like mint, basil, thyme, rosemary and sage can work really well with fruity flavors. If you want to try them you can take a sprig of any herb, give it a good whack to release some oils and stick it right into the glass when you're finished making the drink.
Some flavor combination ideas:
- Watermelon and basil
- Lemon, Lime, Elderflower (St. Germain) and thyme
- Cherry and Amaro
St. Germain will go well with pretty much any fruit juice, but there are tons of other liqueurs that would be nice with some combination of fruit. Ancho Reyes would be awesome, Aperol, Cointreau or Sambuca.
So what is the Gin and Juice recipe then?
There really isn't one.
You can absolutely measure the ingredients, but it's not some complicated recipe that tastes off if the ratios are different, and If you are making a lot of them you will probably just end up eye-balling measurements.
However, there are a few simple guidelines to follow:
- Shake it: you could get away with just pouring it in the glass, but shaking it aerates the ingredients and chills it down more which makes a better drink.
- Serve it on the rocks: you want to keep everything real cold, especially if you add any soda water. You can strain it onto fresh ice or just pour the ice from your shaker right into the glass.
- Do what you want: want to garnish with a slice of orange? Cool. Feel like ignoring me and serving it up? That's fine too. This is more of a general idea than a cocktail recipe so don't let me tell you how to live your life.
Next time you don't know what cocktail to make yourself just make a Gin and Juice. Especially if you are having company this is such an easy drink that is almost impossible to screw up. You could also batch it ahead and shake two at a time as you need.
Let me know if you have any cool flavor combinations you like!
Gin and Juice
- 2 oz Gin - any style
- 3 oz Juice - mix and match
- And the liquid ingredients to your shaker (other than soda).
- Add ice and shake hard for about 10 seconds.
- Strain into a rocks glass with ice OR just pour the cocktail and the ice from the shaker straight into a glass.
Share Some Gin and Juice!