It’s not that I don’t like gin. I like gin just fine. It’s herbal and complex, it gives backbone to cocktails that would otherwise be one-note (I’m looking at you, Martini). Gin is the unofficial booze of summer, and the starring half of what might be the most popular cocktail in the world, the gin and Tonic. Actually, the gin and tonic didn’t even make the top 25 most popular cocktails in the world according to Drinks International, which is shocking because it seems like the G&T is absolutely everywhere as soon as the sun comes out.
Personally, I have approximately 7,800 gin and tonics throughout spring and summer. Wait, I just had another, make that 7,801. I love gin. Really. But maybe I’m suffering from just a wee bit of gin fatigue. Because it’s in so many classic cocktails that I just feel like I need to take a break. It’s not you, gin. It’s me.
The solution? Swapping out a different base liquor in my favorite gin cocktails. It’s like swinging, except nobody gets divorced. People interchange vodka and gin in the martini all the time, and I’ve been putting bourbon in my negroni for the last two years (making it a boulevardier) and I couldn’t be happier. Seriously, I have more energy and my skin is glowing. But if you want to keep your gin cocktails summer friendly, look south of the border to tequila.
A well-made tequila is just as complex as gin and can add a bright, grassy note to your standby gin summer cocktails. Don’t believe me? Start with the Tom Collins, a classic gin recipe if there ever was one, subbing tequila for gin. It’s simple, citrusy and the perfect canvas for experimentation. I used Suerte Blanco in the following recipe, which carries its own element of sweetness and an extra layer of citrus, turning the Tom Collins into the Juan Collins.
1.5 oz. Suerte Blanco
.5 oz. lemon juice
.5 oz. agave syrup
3 oz. soda water
Lemon twist garnish
Directions: Add first three ingredients to a Collins glass and stir. Add ice and top with soda water.
And that’s just the beginning. Tequila could be the stunt double for a number of different gin cocktails. I’d say try tequila in any gin cocktail that hinges on citrus. Or ginger. The gin gimlet? Make it a tequila gimlet. A French 75? Make it a Mexican 75. The Corpse Reviver #2, the Last Word…The possibilities are endless. I don’t know about putting tequila in a negroni, but maybe if it’s a well-aged tequila, that might work. You might as well give it a shot. I mean, there’s a bar in Kentucky that’s making $1500 Mint Juleps out of tequila. Recipes, like speed limits, are really just suggestions. Feel free to get weird.