How Alex Guarnaschelli Balances The Flavor Of Gin In Cocktails

A good cocktail is all about balance. If one ingredient overpowers another, chances are you will not be able to enjoy all the elements that comprise it. But to balance the competing tastes of an alcoholic drink, you need to understand an alcohol's flavor profile, and this is especially true when it comes to gin. Food Network chef Alex Guarnaschelli concurs, which is why she shared with People that when she is making gin cocktails, she chooses a gin with a simple taste so it doesn't clash or bigfoot the other alcohol, juices, bitters, or herbs she might be using. Guarnaschelli went on further to explain that your gin of choice should allow all of these other ingredients to "shine."

Gin, by its very nature, is a simple alcohol. Made from a neutral spirit and flavored with juniper berries, gin has a piney taste. That taste can be punched up with an infusion of a citrus flavor, anise, or even coriander, and it's these more complex gins that the Iron Chef says you should use when you are making a classic gin and tonic with a wedge of lime. 

What's a good neutral gin?

What you will love about serving up gin cocktails is how versatile this alcohol is. Gin works beautifully with citrus flavors. This is especially true of a Gin Fizz, which mixes lemon juice, soda water, and sugar to create a bubbly cocktail that is bursting with citrus flavor, or a French 75, which also uses gin as its base, along with fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and champagne. But these drinks also call for a neutral gin so your citrus flavors can shine.

What's a good neutral gin to use for cocktails of this nature? Aviation Gin, Tanqueray 10, and Plymouth Gin are three mild and good choices for these types of gin cocktails because they still offer those botanical flavors but are gentle enough to complement the other tastes when they hit your tongue. These gins will also work well for Guarnaschelli's Holy Basil cocktail. Her spicy concoction features ingredients like ginger syrup, ginger beer, lemon juice, cucumber, a little pepper, and basil leaves to create a lovely, piquant, and refreshing drink.