Shaken, Not Stirred: A Guide to the Best Gin Cocktails in Australia

August 9, 2023

Gin has a long and storied history and is believed to have originated in Italy in the 11th century. It has since become one of the most popular and widely consumed spirits in the world. Gin's popularity in Australia dates back to the early 1800s when British settlers began importing the spirit to the continent. In the early 1900s, the popularity of gin drinks in Australia surged due to the influx of European immigrants who brought with them their own gin-making traditions and gin cocktail recipes.

Gin's popularity in Australia is largely attributed to its versatility and the variety of cocktails it can create. Gin can be used to make a range of classic cocktails including the martini, gimlet, and Tom Collins, as well as modern variations like the Negroni and raspberry gin sour. Gin's botanical flavours and fragrant aromas make it a great base for mixing with other ingredients, which has helped to drive its popularity in Australia.

The increasing availability of craft and artisan gins has also contributed to the spirit's appeal. Australia now boasts a wide selection of local gins, with each offering its own unique flavour profile. This has allowed Australians to explore the spirit and experiment with creating their own gin-based cocktails. Strato Melbourne is delighted to be hosting a gin martini masterclass with The Botanist, distillers of award-winning Islay Dry Gin.

In this article, we will be exploring a range of popular classic gin cocktail recipes, gin cocktails with a twist and refreshing gin cocktails perfect for sipping in the summer sun. 

Classic Gin Cocktails


The classic gin martini is one of the most iconic cocktails in the world. It is a timeless classic that has been enjoyed for generations. Originally created in the late 1800s, the classic gin martini is a simple yet sophisticated concoction that has been immortalised in popular culture.

The classic gin martini is made with gin, dry vermouth, and a dash of orange bitters. The gin used is typically London dry gin, but other varieties of gin can be used to create variations on the original recipe. The dry vermouth is added to give the martini a slight herbal taste, and the orange bitters provides a hint of citrus. Together, these three ingredients create a smooth, balanced, and refreshing cocktail.

Variations on the classic gin martini include the dry martini, which uses less vermouth, and the wet martini, which calls for more. Other variations include the dirty martini, which is made with olive juice, and the vesper martini, which contains vodka and Lillet Blanc. For a sweeter martini, one can add a dash of simple syrup or liqueur, such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier. For a truly unique martini, one can experiment with different types of gin, such as fruit-infused or barrel-aged.

No matter the variation, the classic gin martini is a timeless classic that will always be enjoyed for its smoothness and refreshing flavour. It is a versatile cocktail that can be enjoyed in any setting, from an intimate dinner gathering to a lively party. Whether you choose to make it with the classic ingredients or experiment with something new, the classic gin martini is sure to be a hit.

Gin Gimlet

The gin gimlet is a classic cocktail that has been enjoyed since the late 1800s. It consists of gin and a lime juice, usually sweetened with either sugar or simple syrup. The origins of this cocktail are not definitively known, but it is thought to have originated in the Royal Navy in the 19th century as a way to make lime juice more palatable to sailors.

The original recipe for the gin gimlet is simple and straightforward. It calls for two parts gin, one part lime juice and one part simple syrup. This combination creates a slightly sweet and tart flavour that is quite refreshing.

Today, there are many variations of the gin gimlet. For example, some people replace the simple syrup with honey, agave or other sweeteners for a more creative twist. Others prefer to add a few dashes of bitters or herbs for a more robust flavour. And some people like to swap out the gin for other spirits, such as vodka or tequila.

No matter what variation you choose, the gin gimlet is a tasty and refreshing cocktail. The combination of gin, lime juice and sweetener creates a balanced flavour that is perfect for any occasion. And because of its relatively low alcohol content, it is a great option for those who are looking for a light and refreshing drink.

Tom Collins

The Tom Collins cocktail is a classic drink that has been around since the late 1800s. Originating in England, it was originally served as a type of "punch" for large gatherings. The traditional recipe contains gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and soda water, and it is usually served over ice in a highball glass.

The original recipe for the Tom Collins was created in 1876 by Jerry Thomas, who is considered the father of modern mixology. He named it after a popular hoax at the time involving a fictional character named Tom Collins. The hoax was that someone would tell their friends that Tom Collins was talking about them and could be found at a certain place, causing people to search for him all night.

The traditional Tom Collins recipe requires equal parts of gin, lemon juice and simple syrup, with a splash of soda water. For a stronger drink, some use more gin and less soda water. The glass is then filled with ice and garnished with a lemon wedge.

There are also some variations of the Tom Collins. One of the most popular gin cocktail recipes stemming from the Tom Collins is the John Collins, which is made with whiskey instead of gin and often includes a dash of Angostura bitters. Other variations include the Gin Fizz, which is made with just gin and lemon juice, and the Ramos Gin Fizz, which contains egg white and cream.

Gin Fizz

The Gin Fizz is a classic cocktail that has been around for well over a century. It is a refreshing and light drink that is perfect for summertime or any other occasion. The Gin Fizz originated in the late 1800s and is believed to have been first mixed in New Orleans. 

The original recipe called for a combination of gin, lemon juice, sugar and carbonated water. First, combine the gin, sugar syrup, and lemon juice in a tall glass and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Then, fill the glass with cubed ice and top with soda water. Give the drink a final stir and garnish with a slice of lemon.

Over the years, many variations of the Gin Fizz have been created. One variation is the 'Ramos Gin Fizz,' which is made with gin, lemon juice, cream, egg white, orange flower water, and soda water. This version is popular in New Orleans and is usually served in a highball glass.

For a sweeter take on the Gin Fizz, mix it with a splash of grenadine. This will turn it into a 'Pink Gin Fizz.' If you want to add a bit of extra flavour, try adding a few drops of Angostura bitters to the mix. For a slightly sour flavour, add a splash of lime juice as well.

Gin Cocktails with a Twist

French 75

The French 75 is a gin cocktail that has been around for over 100 years. It is said to have originated in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris, by barman Harry MacElhone. It is basically a combination of gin, lemon juice, and sugar, topped with champagne.

The classic French 75 recipe calls for a base of gin, usually London dry, which is then combined with freshly squeezed lemon juice, and simple syrup. The mixture is then shaken with ice, and strained into a champagne flute. To finish, a splash of champagne is added, giving the drink its signature effervescence.

Although the classic French 75 is a wonderful combination of ingredients, there are many variations on the recipe. For example, you could use brandy instead of gin, or Cointreau instead of simple syrup. You could also switch out the champagne for sparkling white wine, or try adding a few drops of bitters for an extra layer of flavour.

Espresso Martini

The espresso martini is a delicious and popular cocktail that has gained worldwide attention in recent years. It is believed to have originated in the early 1980s in London, when a famous bartender created it for a famous supermodel who wanted a drink that would “wake her up and [mess] her up”.

The espresso martini typically consists of vodka, espresso coffee, coffee liqueur, sugar syrup, and sometimes cream and chocolate bitters. The espresso coffee provides the caffeine kick, while the coffee liqueur and sugar syrup add sweetness and complexity. It is usually served in a martini glass, with a coffee bean for garnish.

Over the years, the espresso martini has been adapted and changed to suit different tastes. Variations include adding an extra shot of espresso, a shot of Irish cream liqueur, or a spoonful of chocolate powder. Some people like to add a shot of espresso to their martini glasses before serving to give it a more intense flavour. For a creamy variation, add 1 ounce of heavy cream to the shaker before shaking. You can also replace the espresso with cold-brew coffee or a coffee concentrate for a slightly different flavour. Other variations include adding ice cubes, a splash of soda water, or a teaspoon of brown sugar.

Raspberry Gin Collins

The Raspberry Gin Collins is a refreshing and delicious gin-based cocktail that has its origins in the classic Tom Collins. The Raspberry Gin Collins typically contains gin, raspberry syrup, lemon juice and soda water. It is often garnished with a fresh raspberry and a lemon wedge.

For the gin, the classic London Dry Gin is typically used. You can also use a flavoured gin like raspberry or citrus to bring out the flavours of the cocktail. For the raspberry syrup, you can use a store-bought raspberry syrup or a homemade simple syrup with fresh raspberries. Lemon juice adds a nice tartness and the soda water adds a light effervescence.

The Raspberry Gin Collins is a great cocktail for any occasion and can be served either up or on the rocks. To serve it up, simply mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. To serve on the rocks, simply pour over ice in a tall glass.

If you’re looking to switch things up, you can try adding muddled mint or fresh strawberries for an extra kick. You can also try swapping out the Raspberry Gin for Vodka or Tequila for an entirely new flavour.

Gin Sour

The Gin Sour is a classic cocktail that has been served in bars since the late 19th century. It's made with a combination of gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and an egg white (or aquafaba for vegan variations). The egg white gives the drink a frothy and creamy texture, while the sourness of the lemon juice and sweetness of the simple syrup balance out the taste.

The origin of the Gin Sour is largely unknown, but it’s believed to have originated in the United States in the late 1800s. It was originally created as a way to make gin, which wasn’t popular at the time, more palatable. Over the years, people have experimented with different variations of the drink by swapping out the gin, adding different liquors, and using different types of citrus juices.

The traditional Gin Sour is made with four parts gin, two parts lemon juice, one part simple syrup, and an egg white. To make a vegan version, you can substitute the egg white for aquafaba, which is the liquid from a canned chickpea.

There are many variations of the Gin Sour, depending on your preferences. To make a Margarita Sour, you can swap out the gin for tequila and add a dash of triple sec. For a Whiskey Sour, you can swap out the gin for whiskey and use orange juice instead of lemon juice. You can also make a more tropical version by adding mango or pineapple juice.

Finally, many people prefer to add a bit of bitters to the Gin Sour to give it a bit of zing.

Gin Cocktails for Summer

Gin and Tonic

The gin and tonic is a classic cocktail that has been around for centuries. It is believed to have originated in the British Army in India during the 19th century as a way to make the bitter tonic water more palatable. The gin and tonic is traditionally made with gin, tonic water, and lime or lemon juice. It is typically served over ice in a tall glass with a slice of lime.

The classic gin and tonic is made with equal parts of gin and tonic water, usually with a twist of lime or lemon. The combination of the juniper-flavored gin and the bitter quinine of the tonic water creates a refreshing and complex flavor. The gin and tonic is also a great base for experimenting with different ingredients and flavors. You can add various fruits and herbs to give the drink more depth, such as strawberries and basil, cucumber and mint, or citrus fruits like grapefruit and orange. You can also play around with the ratio of gin and tonic, as well as the type of gin used, to create different variations of the drink.

The gin and tonic has become a popular drink worldwide and there are many variations of it. Some of the most popular variations include adding fresh fruit juice, such as orange or grapefruit, as well as herbs and spices like mint, rosemary, and cardamom. Other variations may include adding sugar, soda water, and other spirits such as vodka or rum.

In recent years, the gin and tonic has gained even more popularity, with bars and restaurants all over the world offering their own unique takes on the classic. There are now an endless array of flavours, garnishes, and mixers to create the perfect gin and tonic. Whether you like it sweet, sour, or spicy, you can find a delicious combination to suit your taste.

Strawberry Gin Spritz

Strawberry Gin Spritz is a refreshing, light cocktail made with gin, a sparkling white wine, and a hint of strawberry. Originally created in Spain in the early 2000s, it quickly gained popularity as a go-to summer drink. It is simple to make and can be adapted to suit individual tastes.

To make a classic Strawberry Gin Spritz, you will need: one part gin, one part sparkling white wine, 2 parts lemonade, and a few strawberries or strawberry syrup. First, fill a glass with ice and add the gin and sparkling white wine. Then add the lemonade and stir until everything is mixed together. Finally, add a few small pieces of strawberry or a splash of strawberry syrup to give it a touch of sweetness.

There are many variations of the Strawberry Gin Spritz. For a sweeter version, you can add more strawberries or strawberry syrup and a bit more lemonade. If you want a more tart flavour, you can add a splash of lime juice or a few drops of bitters. To make it a bit more boozy, you can add a splash of Grand Marnier or Cointreau. Or, if you like a bit of spice, you can add a few drops of Tabasco or a pinch of chilli powder.

Basil Gin Fizz

The Basil Gin Fizz is a delicious and refreshing cocktail that has been around since the early 1900s. It was originally created in the United States and has become popular around the world. The classic Basil Gin Fizz is made with gin, simple syrup, lime juice, and a few fresh basil leaves. It's an incredibly easy drink to make, and the taste is a perfect balance of sweet and tart.

The original recipe calls for 2 ounces of gin, 1 ounce of simple syrup, 1 ounce of lime juice, and 4-5 basil leaves. To make this cocktail, you would first muddle the basil leaves with the simple syrup in the bottom of a shaker, then add the gin and lime juice. Shake all the ingredients together, pour into a highball glass, and top with club soda. The result is a light, refreshing drink that's perfect for any occasion.

There are also a few variations of the Basil Gin Fizz. For a sweeter version, you can add a splash of orange juice or a bit of agave syrup. You can also make a savoury version by adding a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce and a pinch of celery salt. For a creamy version, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a few more basil leaves. The possibilities are endless!

Cucumber Gin Martini

The cucumber gin martini is a refreshing and unique twist on the classic gin martini. It is believed to have originated in the United States in the mid-2000s, though its exact origin is unknown. The basic recipe for a cucumber gin martini is simple: gin, cucumber, simple syrup, and lime juice. A cucumber-infused gin can also be used in place of plain gin for a more powerful cucumber flavour. 

Variations of the cucumber gin martini can include adding other flavoured liquors, such as elderflower liqueur or melon liqueur, for a more complex flavour. Other additions may include muddled cucumber slices, a splash of soda water, and a dash of bitters. Some recipes also call for a cucumber-flavoured vodka instead of gin.


You’re now equipped with the knowledge of 12 delicious gin cocktails, ranging from the classic Gin Martini, Gin Gimlet, Tom Collins, Gin Fizz, to the French 75, Espresso Martini, Raspberry Gin Collins, Gin Sour, to the refreshing summer tipples, the Gin & Tonic, Strawberry Gin Spritz, Basil Gin Fizz and Cucumber Gin Martini. Which one will you make first?

Gin cocktail recipes can be a fun and creative way to bring together different flavours and aromas. However, it is important to remember that balance is key when making these drinks. Too much of one ingredient can overpower the others, leading to an unenjoyable tasting cocktail. The goal is to bring together multiple elements to create a unique flavour. Finding the right balance between the flavours and aromas of the gin, the other components of the cocktail, and the garnish can be a challenge - but it is worth it in the end. When all of the components are in harmony, the result is a unique and delicious gin cocktail that your guests will love.

Looking to learn more and delve deeper into the world of gin? Keep your eyes out on our website for the latest happenings and upcoming events


What type of gin is best for cocktails?

It is difficult to say which gin is the best for use in cocktails as everyone has different preferences. However, some popular gins that are widely used in cocktails include Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire, Hendricks, and Beefeater. Each of these gins bring their own unique flavour to any cocktail. Experimenting with different gins is a fun way to find the one that best suits your palate.

How much gin should I use in a cocktail?

When making a cocktail with gin, it's important to be mindful of the amount used. Generally, about 1 ounce (or 30ml) of gin is a good place to start. You can then adjust the amount to taste, depending on the type of cocktail you're making and your desired flavour profile. If you're using a more intense gin, you may want to use a bit less, whereas if you're using a lighter gin, you can experiment with slightly more. Just remember to enjoy responsibly!

Can I make gin cocktails without tonic water?

Yes, you can make gin cocktails without tonic water! Enjoy experimenting with different mixers, such as lemonade, ginger ale, cranberry juice, soda, bitters, and more. Gin is a versatile spirit with a myriad of flavour combinations to explore. Have fun and be creative!

What other ingredients can I use to make gin cocktails?

You can make some delicious gin cocktails by adding ingredients like cranberry juice, orange juice, lime juice, tonic water, ginger beer, muddled fruit, simple syrup, and herbs such as thyme and basil.

Can I make gin cocktails with non-alcoholic gin?

Absolutely! Non-alcoholic gin can be used to make a variety of delicious drinks. There are several brands of non-alcoholic gin on the market that can be used in a variety of recipes. To make a delicious non-alcoholic cocktail, try mixing together non-alcoholic gin, tonic, lime juice, and a splash of soda.

Note: Photography is for illustrative purposes only. Strato Melbourne cocktails may differ in appearance, or may not appear on the menu.