Rebirth of a Cocktail Classic

Aug 7, 2018

Gin is taking center-stage on cocktail menus across the country … as well as here in our hometown.

Credit Brad Pitts

The unique herbal flavor of this clear liquor makes it the perfect choice for a variety of refreshing cocktails.

I sat down with Brad Pitts, an award-winning mixologist here in Memphis, TN, to talk about this classic liquor.

“I have always kind of referred to gin as the bartender’s work horse and I think now with a lot of the new style gins, they are more accessible to the modern palate. And people are willing to be more adventurous.”

Seems that distillers across the country and here in Memphis are experimenting with craft gins.

“Alex Castle, the head distiller at Old Dominick, has created two new gins from their research and development department. One is an American dry-style and the other is a Southern-style gin - which is a little more aromatic and fragrant but less dry than the other.”

So other than the classic Gin and Tonic cocktail, I asked Brad what kind of cocktails one can make with gin. He was happy to share his two favorites.

“Two of the classic gin cocktails that I really love are the Negroni and the Hanky Panky.  The Negroni is equal parts gin, sweet Vermouth, and Campari. And then the Hanky Panky is equal parts gin and sweet Vermouth and it’s topped with a little bit of Fernet-Branca, which is an Italian amaro. Both are garnished with an orange peel.”

From martinis to gimlets to punch to fruity cocktails, consider gin over vodka the next time you are whipping up a cocktail.

This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Cheers!


  • 1 oz. Gin
  • 1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • Orange Peel, optional garnish

Add all the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice, and stir until well-chilled.

Strain into a rocks glass filled with large ice cubes.

Garnish with an orange peel.

Serves 1.

Hanky Panky

  • 1 ½ oz. Gin
  • 1 ½ oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Fernet-Branca
  • Orange Peel, optional garnish

Add all the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stir.

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with an orange peel.

Serves 1.

Recipes courtesy of Brad Pitts.