Despite our love for a good Manhattan when the colder months hit, the whiskey fest of winter often overlooks an equally boozy, weather-appropriate spirit: gin.
"Oftentimes gin gets relegated to sours, and when it’s not in a sour it’s in a martini or something similarly crisp, and otherwise it’s forgotten," Chaim Dauermann, head bartender at Gin Palace in New York City, says. "But ultimately gin is simply a flavor, just like anything else."
So how do you move from crisp gin and tonics to the darker, stirred drinks served behind frosty windows? First, think flavors. "Some of the best winter and fall produce is citrus. Blood orange, for example, that is just beautiful and sweet," says Linden Pride of Madam Geneva in New York City. "The color is incredible, and it ties in beautifully with gin’s sweeter botanicals, especially if you’re working with an older one like Plymouth."
Citrus, however, is commonly associated with refreshing summer drinks. So the next step is to think of the spices. "Warm drinks are obviously something people love, but mostly what they love about them are the spices. Cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, cardamom — those spices trigger the warm winter feeling," Brooke Arthur of House Spirits Distillery in Portland, Ore., says. Experiment with spiced syrups and garnishes, or perhaps barrel-aged gins that take on deeper notes of vanilla and spices, perfect for an Old Fashioned.
Of course, a stirred cocktail is the ultimate winter drink. "This comes from centuries of how people drank during Prohibition. In the winter you’re drinking strong drinks, stirred, that are going to warm you up," Arthur says. So renditions of Old Fashioned cocktails, martinis, and negronis? Easily achieved. Click through our slideshow for recipes to help you continue drinking gin, all year long.