Top 5 Gins for the Perfect Summer Cocktails

Top 5 Gins for the perfect summer cocktail

While spring is slowly turning into summer, Europe is awakening from an unusually long winter sleep. The Yachting season has started and guests are more excited than ever to celebrate the summer this year. All that's needed now is a few impressive summer cocktail recipes for your repertoire, so everyone on board can truly experience the perfect summer. 

So what is the perfect cocktail to serve on your yacht this summer you ask?  Well let's start with the perfect base spirit for summer cocktails: Gin!  Gin does not only have a huge variety and depth, it also has layers and layers of flavours that are added during distilling. Juniper, citrus and spices that pair very well with the fresh ingredients used for summer cocktails. 

For the special occasion of Gin Month at Onshore Cellars, we have challenged James "The Gin Man" to present his favourite 5 Gins in combination with a cocktail that appreciates and complements the complex aromas of the gin. James is the founder of The Caravan Concept (a mobile 70's style bar) and the initiator of the "Gin Boom" in Cannes. He has earned his reputation by working only with the best gins from around the world and focussing on "The Perfect Serve", so we trust him to make us some of the best summer gin-based cocktails you have probably ever tasted or served. 

Gin As a Unique Base Spirit

Gin is obtained by distillation from a base of grain (wheat or barley), to which botanicals and water are added along the process to give gin its unique flavour profile. To be able to be called a gin, the distinctive flavour of Juniper berries must be predominant. 

While it is the Juniper berries that give gin its' distinctive base flavour, gin is also unique in its ability to adopt botanical aromas and develop deep layers of flavours during distillation. Typical aromas that are added to gin come from spices (e.g. coriander, cardamom and anise), floral elements (e.g. roses and lavender) and  citrus peel (e.g. lemon or grapefruit). Producers carefully balance all these elements to develop a finished product that has depth and  complexity. The  variety and exciting aromas make gin the perfect base for some of the best cocktails.

So let's get into James' top 5 gins and their perfect cocktail matches..


1. Comte de Grasse - 44°N

This might be the most distinctive gin from the selection due to its very characteristic floral aromas. Woody juniper and a pinch of salt, with a burst of sweet and bitter citrus followed by an aromatic floral bouquet, a creamy note on the finish supported by warming pepper spice. We picked this gin to make "The Ramble", because it has the perfect floral aromas to combine with the red fruits of the cocktail, creating a lovely depth of flavours.

2. Eden Mill - Oak Gin

Eden Mill is Scotland's original single-site brewery and distillery. The Oak Gin is briefly infused with oak, using beer barrels from their very own brewery. This odd little twist gives a lovely marriage of flavours, creating a truly unique gin. The result is a rich oak spice gin with notes of caramel, vanilla, and a touch of fudge. Warming, at 42% ABV, with a long, rich finish that is lovely as a sipping gin. We picked this gin to create a "French Honey 75" that highlights the characteristic wood notes of the gin.   

3. HMS Dreadnought

Dreadnought Gin respectfully admires the tradition of a well-balanced London Dry gin, adding subtle notes of rosemary and grapefruit that bring it to life. It’s carefully distilled in small batches in a copper pot-still and retains a slightly higher natural oil content which gives it a richness and ensures it’s smooth on the palate. We have picked this gin to make the french version of a "Greyhound", because it holds up against strong flavours of citrus fruits and adds a more aromatic depth to the cocktail. 

4. Tanqueray no. TEN

Tanqueray No. TEN is the only gin made using whole citrus fruit, including white grapefruit, lime, and orange, along with juniper, coriander, and a hint of chamomile flowers. It is a slightly lighter version of the classic Tanqueray gin introduced in 1999. The alcohol may be lighter, but the palate remains as good as ever. A Quintessential London dry that works well with other strong flavours, whilst still allowing its piney aroma to surface. We picked this gin to make the perfect traditional "Southside", bringing two icons together. The gin combined with the ingredients of the cocktail creates a depth of different citrus flavours that has a refreshing, long lasting finish.

5. QVT

The initial taste of QVT Gin confirms that it is a gin (there are some gins that are almost a flavoured vodka), hence the juniper comes out first, after which the other ingredients, including citrus, coriander and lavender, start to emerge. Evoking thoughts of lingering Provencal sunsets, warm sun by the pool, or under a cafe umbrella in the square of local village. This gin is ‘unapologetically’ Provençal! Our favourite cocktail to bring out the wild flower aromas of QVT, is the "Elderflower Collins". The result is a very floral cocktail that truly brings out the typical Provence characteristics of the gin.

A Peek into James' Recipe Book

The Ramble

Comte de Grasse N°44                       60ml
Raspberries                                          30ml
Lemon juice                                         15ml
Sugar syrup                                           5ml
Raspberries                                             5

How to Make it
1. Muddle 4 raspberries in a shaker, leave 1 for garnish
2. Add all other ingredients to a shaker
3. Shake over ice
4. Strain
5. Garnish with a raspberry

French Honey 75

Eden Mill - Oak Gin                               40ml
Lemon Juice                                         20ml
Honey                                                    20ml
Champagne/Prosecco                    To Top Off
Lemon peel for garnish

How to Make it
1. Add Gin, lemon juice and honey to a shaker
2. Shake over ice
3. Strain
4. Top up with Champagne or Prosecco
5. Garnish with a lemon peel

The Whippet(Greyhound)

HMS Dreadnought Gin                                     40ml
Saint Germains elderflower liqueur                20ml
Fresh grapefruit juice                                     100ml
Orange bitters                                                 a dash
Grapefruit slice for garnish            

How to Make it
1. Add 4 ice cubes to a collins glass
2. Add all ingredients to a shaker
3. Shake over ice
4. Strain
5. Garnish with a slice of grapefruit


Tanqueray no. TEN                          50ml
Lime juice                                         25ml
Cane sugar syrup                            20ml
Mint leaves                                         5
Angostura bitters                            a dash

How to Make it
1. Add all ingredients except angostura to a shaker
2. Shake over ice
3. Strain
4. Top up
5. Garnish with a lemon peel

Elderflower Collins 

QVT Gin                                                             50ml
Saint Germain elderflower liqueur                  30ml
Fresh lemon juice                                             20ml
Sugar syrup                                                      10ml
Soda water                                                    To top up
Lemon/flowers for garnish   

How to Make it
1. Add all ingredients except the soda water  to a shaker
2. Shake over ice
3. Strain
4. Top up with soda water (about a finger width)
5. Garnish with lemon and/or flowers

Contact us

2040 Chemin De Saint Bernard, Porte 12 - 06220 VALLAURIS

 PHONE: +33 (0) 493 61 80 20

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