At this time of year, pink tends to come up lots (think Valentines Day, Mother’s Day and Spring in general). So having seen some people ask about how to serve pink gin, I thought this post was needed. I’ll cover what I mean by pink gin, the different types of pink gin you can find and how you can serve them. If you have a gin I’ve not covered or doesn’t fit into a category, then drop me a comment and I can help you out with serves!
How to serve pink gin
What do I mean by pink gin?
Traditionally a ‘Pink Gin’ is a classic cocktail made with only Angostura Bitters and Plymouth Gin. You rinse a chilled glass with the Angostura Bitters, add the well chilled gin and finish with a lemon zest garnish expressed over the top.
Now that’s probably not what you were thinking when you started reading this post, so it’s not what I will focus on! Today a Pink Gin means any gin, or gin based liqueur that happens to be pink coloured. Usually these gins are flavoured with different pink fruits and coloured in various ways. The sweetened ‘Pink gins’ are usually liqueurs, in that they will have a higher sugar content and usually lower alcohol too (gin can only be labelled as such if it’s over 37.5% alcohol).
Broadly speaking there are some key ways to serve Pink Gins: gin and a mixer (e.g. tonic, lemonade or ginger ale), in sour cocktail with lemon juice and sugar syrup, topped up with Prosecco, as a replacement for ‘regular gin’ in classic gin cocktails and neat!
I’ll be covering drinks you can make with:
- full strength pink gins at 37.5% +
- pink gin liqueurs
- sloe gin (which is a separate category in the UK)
- bonus: fruit flavoured gins that aren’t actually pink in colour, but are full of fruity flavours!
- bonus bonus: non alcoholic pink drinks (aka pink gin replacements)
1. How to serve full strength pink gins 37.5%+
A ‘proper’ gin strength pink gin can be served quite simply with tonic and a fruit garnish. However some gins lead themselves to being served with a mixer other than tonic. For example Warner’s Rhubarb gin at 40% works as a gin and tonic, however my Mum loves this served with ginger ale (I mean this is a classic flavour combination!). Read on to see more serving suggestions for full strength pink gins:
Pink Gin with tonic
You can serve a Pink gin very simply with a light tonic and a berry garnish. Or mix it up and try a flavoured tonic, like this Violet Blossom tonic from Artisan Drinks Co, with Manchester raspberry gin in the Valentine’s bundle from Craft Gin Club:
Rhubarb gin with Ginger ale
As I mentioned Rhubarb and Ginger is a classic combination and Rhubarb gin is a very British flavour. Serve Warner’s Rhubarb (in my opinion the best Rhubarb gin!) with Ginger Ale and ice for the best serve.
For a gin that already has both these flavours try Edinburgh gin Rhubarb and Ginger – they have both a liqueur (see gin liqueurs below) and a proper full strength unsweetened gin. The best way to serve this gin is with a plain tonic to let the underlying flavours shine through.
Sour: Pink is an attitude
This serve from Inka at On the sauce again, is a take on the classic clover club but using, which balances tart citrus with vermouth and sugar syrup, before shaking with egg white for a delicious foam. Inka used Kirkjuvagr Beyla gin, which has the addition of Orcadian honey and Scottish raspberries infused in it, but is still 40%. Read more about Kirkjuvagr gins on Inka’s blog.
- 50ml Beyla Gin
- 15ml Starlino Rosé vermouth
- 20ml Fresh lemon juice
- Fresh redcurrants, muddled
- 10ml Thyme syrup*
- Egg white (can be replaced for a vegan alternative such as aquafaba)
Muddle the redcurrants in the cocktail shaker before adding the rest of the ingredients. Dry shake for a good while before adding ice and shaking again. This way the foam consistency will be better than if you only shake with ice. Strain into an ice-filled tumbler and garnish with redcurrants.
Simply add sugar and water to a saucepan. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Take off the heat, add the thyme, cover with a lid and leave to sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Strain and store. I removed the leaves because my thyme has quite woody stems. But if they are green, you can add the whole sprigs.
Sour: Clover Club
Spence from Ginsmagic on Instagram has created a Clover Club using Lilly Pilly gin from Manly Spirits. The pink colour in this gin comes from raspberries, however the Australian Lilly Pilly adds a tartness to the gin. Read more about Lilly Pilly gin here.
- 50ml Lilly Pilly gin
- 7.5ml Noily Prat vermouth
- 7.5ml Regal Rogue red vermouth
- 7.5ml fresh lemon juice
- 7.5ml simple syrup
- 15ml egg white (or vegan alternative)
- 5 fresh raspberries
Muddle a couple of the raspberries in a shaker, add the remaining ingredients and shake without ice. Then add ice and shake again until cold. Fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the remaining raspberries
Basic sour recipe:
I’ve also done a simple sour with Manly Spirits Lilly Pilly, using aquafaba (the juice from a can of chickpeas) for a vegan alternative:
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I use a base recipe of 60ml gin, 15ml lemon juice, 15ml aquafaba, 15ml of sugar syrup (adjust the sugar/lemon to your taste). Simply shake hard without ice and then add ice and shake again. Fine strain into a glass and garnish with a dash of bitters on the foam.
Sandra aka The Real Juniper Chick on Instagram had some fabulous serving suggestions for the Salcombe Rose Sainte Marie gin, including this Rose negroni:
- 30ml Salcombe Rosé Sainte Marie
- 30ml Strawberry infused Campari*
- 15ml Ottos Athens Vermouth
- 15ml Sacred English Amber Vermouth
Stir with ice and serve over a large ice cube and garnish with strawberries.
*Strawberry infused Campari – simply slice a handful of strawberries and infuse in the Campari for a couple of hours (don’t leave overnight or it will become too sweet!)
Inka from On the Sauce again has a post with a Negroni for every season. She suggests this Pink Negroni for a fruity Summer option using Brentingby Pink Gin (made with hibiscus, rooibos and baobab) and blueberry-infused vermouth.
- 25ml Pink Gin (Brentingby Pink Gin)
- 30ml Blueberry-infused white vermouth (Ferdinand’s)*
- 25ml Suze
- Pink grapefruit peel
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into ice-filled tumbler or serve without ice in a coupe glass. Garnish with a pink grapefruit twist.
*To make the infusion, simply muddle blueberries with the vermouth and leave to macerate in the fridge for three days to a week. Give it an occasional stir. Test the flavour. Strain and store in the fridge once you’re happy with it.
With vermouth & tonic
Sara Jane from @LoveGinandRex on Instagram is a gin and aperitifs expert and so her favourite serves have to include these elements! First up is a combination of Locksley Raspberry and Cardamom gin with a splash of Cocchi Americano Rosa and aromatic tonic:
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Another pink gin serve of Sara Jane’s is Half Hitch berry gin, which has blackberry and raspberry flavours on top of the regular Half Hitch base. Read more about Half Hitch gin here. Sara Jane’s serve with this uses Dubonnet and aromatic tonic, garnished with a cinnamon stick and blackberries:
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Following on from Sara Jane’s aperitif cocktails, Inka from On the Sauce Again has a serve with probably the original pink gin: Pinkster. Pinkster was definitely one of the first pink gins that wasn’t a fruit liqueur that I tried. I marveled over the relative dryness, the way the raspberry flavour came through and also the gorgeous colour.
- 40ml Pinkster Gin
- 25ml Campari
- 20ml Pinkster Winter Cocktail Mix*
- Dash of lemon juice
- 15ml Cointreau
Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Double strain into a coupe (or a fancy tea cup like Inka did) and garnish with a lemon slice.
*This mix is thick and hard to measure, so adjust to taste, 20ml is about a heaped teaspoon’s worth.
Find more serving suggestions with Pinkster and their cocktail mixes perfect for Valentine’s day on Inka’s blog: On the Sauce Again.
The French 75 is a classic Champagne and gin cocktail and looks fabulous with a pink gin to give a lovely blush colour. This one from The Real Juniper Chick uses Mirabeau Rose gin again:
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Frozen: Pink gin and tonic sorbet
Perfect for a hot summer’s day, the gin and tonic sorbet will keep you cool! The recipe was created by Guy Hobley, chief drink slinger and head bartender at The Walcot, Bath, check Guy out on Instagram @guyhobley.
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- 500g of frozen strawberries
- 200ml of tonic syrup*
- 75ml of pink gin of your choice (although Guy recommends Conker Port cask gin)
- Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth
- Freeze for 12-24 hours
- If it’s too clumpy blend again and re-freeze
- To serve place a scoop of sorbet in your finest glassware and then top with bubbles of your choice!
- 200ml of tonic water
- 100g sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, heat until sugar is dissolved and allow to cool before using.
Hot: Warm & Cosy
Created by Rob Clench, bartender at Homewood, Bath, this hot serve with Mirabeau Rose gin is sure to keep you warm! Find Rob on Instagram @robs_bar_world where he shares his cocktail recipes with different spirits.
- 50ml Mirabeau Rose Gin
- 100ml apple juice
- 10ml lemon juice
- 25ml ginger beer
- 3 dashes angostura bitters
- 1 teaspoon organic honey
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 slice of lemon
Warm up the apple juice and ginger beer, but don’t let it boil. Then add the honey, lemon juice, bitters and stir the ingredients together. Pour everything in a mug or heat proof glass, add the Mirabeau gin and garnish withe cinnamon and lemon slice.
Pink Old Tom gins – the Collins
An Old Tom gin is a sweeter style of gin, but it’s not a liqueur. I’m going to be doing a more in depth post specifically on this style soon, however a great classic cocktail that uses an Old Tom is the Collins. I tried this classic drink with the Raspberry Old Tom from Dr Adams House of botanicals, find the recipe here:
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2. How to serve Pink Gin Liqueurs
Probably the first gin liqueur I tried was Edinburgh Raspberry liqueur. I remember it vividly as we had a bottle for Christmas and drank it topped up with Champagne as a special treat. And this is where gin liqueurs come into their own – to balance a cocktail or to add something a little special to a ‘regular’ drink.
Pink gin liqueurs with fizz
Simply add your favourite flavour of liqueur to a Champagne glass and top up with Champagne, Prosecco or other sparkling wine.
With gin liqueurs being sweet and usually less alcohol than a regular pink gin, this makes them easy to drink neat on their own. Whether you sip from a class like port, or serve over ice, the sweetness of the liqueurs will make them slip down easily.
Pink gin liqueurs with lemonade or soda
Sometimes the bitterness of the quinine in tonic doesn’t work so well with a sweeter liqueur. So why not try lemonade instead or soda to let the flavours show through.
As a sour
You can balance the sweetness of your pink liqueur with lemon juice in a sour. Add some egg white or aquafaba for a foam and shake up for a really pretty drink! See my basic sour recipe above, however if your liqueur is very sweet you may want to add more lemon juice to balance this.
3. How to serve Sloe Gin
Sloe gin is it’s own category in EU and UK legislation and is defined as:
‘a liqueur produced by maceration of sloes in gin with the possible addition of sloe juice. The minimum alcoholic strength by volume of sloe gin shall be 25 %. Only natural flavouring substances and flavouring preparations may be used in the production of sloe gin.’
Sloe gin neat
As a typical British product I had to include it in this post. The simplest way to serve sloe gin is neat over ice. As it’s usually a sweeter serve with less alcohol, this works very well. I also like sloe gin neat in a hip flask on a Winter’s day walk.
Sloe and fizz
A classic way to serve sloe gin is with fizz – simply pour a measure of sloe gin in a champagne glass and top up with Champagne, Prosecco or another sparkling wine. This creates a beautiful blush pink serve and is a touch of class for a special occasion!
Sloe gin with bitter lemon
You do remember bitter lemon? Well a sloe gin and bitter lemon works really well. If you can’t find a bitter lemon mixer, then a cloudy lemon tonic, such as FeverTree Sicilian lemon works too. Basically you want the tang of the lemon bitterness to offset the sweetness from the sloe gin.
Sloe gin hot in a mulled drink
A great way to serve sloe gin is in a mulled gin drink. For parties I mull cloudy apple juice with cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice (heat through and you can keep warm in a slow cooker or rice cooker on warm). When I serve I simply add a shot of sloe gin into the same glass or mug and grate some nutmeg on top. (The base mulled apple juice works well for the non-drinkers too!)
4. How to serve fruit flavoured gins that aren’t actually pink!
Some gins have a strong fruit or berry flavour, but aren’t actually pink as the flavours are all distilled and no botanicals are infused or colourants added.
Probably the original berry flavoured gin that is clear, it was a complete surprise to me when I first tasted this! Brockmans is loaded with blackberries and blueberries, as well as a classic gin base and Valencian orange. Designed to be smooth enough to be drunk neat over ice, it also works in a variety of serves, including this Champagne cocktail that I had at a Brockmans event:
You can make the Blackberry Ombre above, or simply serve Brockmans gin with tonic and garnish with blueberries and pink grapefruit peel expressed across the top. There are loads of serving suggestions and cocktail recipes on the Brockmans website.
Basilberry Smash with Caorunn Raspberry
The Real Juniper Chick aka Sandra has come up with this twist on a classic Basil Smash (itself a form of sour cocktail) for Caorunn Raspberry gin (40%). Created as a special celebration of 10 years of Caorunn gin, it’s infused with local Perthshire raspberries – a very traditional Scottish ingredient, however they didn’t want to create a pink gin, so the infusion is at the time of distillation, not afterwards, so no pink colour comes through. This cocktail results in a pink cocktail though, balancing the fruit flavours with lemon juice and fresh basil for a refreshing serve.
- 60ml Caorunn Raspberry Gin
- 12 basil leaves
- 4 raspberries
- 22.5ml freshly squeeze lemon juice
- 10ml simple syrup
Muddle the basil leaves and raspberries in the gin, and leave for a couple of minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain and ENJOY!
5. How to serve non alcoholic pink ‘drinks’
Everleaf Mountain 0%
I haven’t come across a huge amount of non-alcholic pink drinks, however Everleaf have launched their new variants which include Mountain, which was created to be the most similar to a Pink Gin. As a stand alone product I was very impressed by this at a recent Virtual Gin Journey tasting. Paul has put a of effort into getting a decent mouthfeel like a ‘real’ alcoholic drink. The best bit in my opinion is the layers of flavour, from fruit to floral cherry blossom and ending with a wormwood bitterness that reminds me of a bittersweet spritz.
To serve keep it simple with 1 part Everleaf to 2 or 3 parts light tonic and garnish with strawberries and ice. I can see this being a big Summer drink for the non-drinkers out there!
Or why not try this Mountain Fizz serve:
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Warner’s Pink Berry 0%
This 0% botanical spirit won Gold in the No and Low Masters 2021, so while I haven’t personally tried it yet, I think there must be something good here! Warner’s describe it as ‘fragrant & tangy’, with raspberries and blackcurrant sage providing the fruit notes and a kick from chilli, ginger and Szechuan pepper to give depth and interest.
Serve Warner’s Pink Berry over ice with a splash of Mediterranean tonic and garnish with raspberries and mint.
Do you have any great serves with pink gin you want to share? Or any pink gins that you want some ideas on how to serve? Drop me a comment below and I can help you out!
Fiona Maclean says
I love pink gin (the fruit sort) but have to be careful because I have a strawberry allergy. Rhubarb is my personal favourite though! Great and comprehensive guide
Thanks Fiona – it must be tricky being allergic to strawberries
I love colored gin, it makes drinks so fun! I love empress purple gin too!
Thanks Liz – Empress is pretty special too, how do you serve it?
As I just got a bottle of Bloom Jasmine and Rose this post came at a perfect time!
Ooh let me know how you decide to serve it Brianna!