This Strawberry Gin Fizz is fruity & herbaceous with a current of bright strawberry-orange flavor, a slight peppery undertow, and refreshing basil aroma. It’s also the first of one of the many recipes I used in a DIY Gin Bar.
Northern California Craft Distilleries
I collaborated with six different distilleries for this series of posts:
- St. George Spirits (Alameda)
- Young and Yonder Spirits (Healdsburg)
- Griffo Distillery (Petaluma)
- New Alchemy Distilling (El Dorado Hills)
- Sipsong Spirits (Windsor)
- Sonoma Brothers Distilling (Windsor)
Northern California is such a spirited area and I wanted to highlight some of the fun and innovating craft spirits being made here. These distilleries generously gave me tours, tastings, and donated bottles of gin for these posts. But of course, all opinions are my own.Jump to Recipe
Fizzy or Neat
There are two separate ways to serve this cocktail. The first is the fizzy way, as the recipe is written. But if you want a more spirit-forward cocktail with no fizz and no ice, you can double strain the shaken drink into a chilled coupe or rocks glass. The flavor is more concentrated in the neat version, so I like doing them when I feel like something stronger.
Gin and Shrub Pairing
These shrub cocktails will vary in taste depending on what gin you use. Each distillery adds different botanicals, so the same cocktail made with another gin will result in its own distinctive version.
I wrote down my shrub and gin pairing tasting notes for each shrub. This can give you an idea of what gin you’d like to use in this Strawberry Gin Fizz. However, whatever gins you end up using, it’s best to do a tasting yourself. You will smell and taste the same gins differently than another person.
Don’t choose to not use a certain gin though because you don’t like a pairing. One thing I learned is that each of these gins and shrubs will make great cocktails when combined, even if you didn’t like a straight gin and shrub pairing.
But it’s a useful guide for figuring out what kind of cocktail you want. For example, I liked the Botanivore Gin the best with the Strawberry Shrub: the strawberry, gin, and pepper flavor was equally balanced in the pairing. When I made this Strawberry Gin Fizz with it, the cocktail was very delicate, flowery, and sweet. The peppercorn was very slight and almost undetectable.
One of my least favorite pairings was H.O.B.S. Gin. All I could taste was spicy peppercorns. But I went ahead and made this drink and it was excellent. It had a bolder flavor, and the peppercorn and basil really shined. It was actually my favorite because I tend to like bold flavors.
Rather than thinking along the lines of like and dislike, think more about what flavors are really standing out. Pairings that are more balanced will create subtle cocktails. And very strong flavors in shrub and gin pairings will be tempered but still present in the cocktail.
The Botanivore Gin has a very flowery smell as well as a classic juniper aroma.
I tasted an equal mix of strawberry and juniper with the black peppercorn version of this shrub. The gin flavor comes through really subtly right under the strawberry. It would be my first pick for a drink where I want the gin to shine through. With the pink peppercorn version of this shrub, I got more fruity and sweet notes.
If you take a whiff of the Terroir Gin, you really do smell the forest. The overall aroma is big on the rosemary, sage, pine, and resin.
I felt the strawberry, gin, and pepper was perfectly balanced in the black peppercorn version. The pink peppercorn version had more bitter notes with more gin flavor and none of the citrus-spicy flavor of the pink peppercorns.
Thin and light on the mouth, this Dry Rye Gin almost feels like it evaporates on the tongue. It’s not your typical gin and is almost tequila-like, with lime flavor on the front. The rye really stands out.
With the black peppercorn version, the rye comes through but not in a confusing way and there was an equal amount of strawberry and gin notes with a little spice. The pink peppercorn version was very rye forward, almost tequila like, and spicy without any of the citrus notes.
This gin has a punch of sweet lemon flavor, like a candied yellow skittle along with a licorice-like flavor and mouth feel.
The overall impression of this pairing was spicy. For some reason, the black peppercorn overpowers everything else. But with the pink peppercorn version, there was a fruity, citrus, and spicy balance.
There are so many punches of flavor in this. First I get a sweet Mayor lemon flavor, then a fresh spicy tingle from coriander, and a peppery finish from the grains of paradise.
The black peppercorn version was spicy and warm with a slight syrupy after-taste. With the pink peppercorn version, there was none of the bright citrus flavor and spice and it was very cherry syrup flavored.
The initial smell for me is lavender with a lemon-chamomile aroma. If you smell it next to some chamomile flowers and dried lavender, it’s amazing how much of those aromas you can detect.
It’s very dry on the palate, extremely floral on the front and has a slightly bitter aftertaste. I think this is a tea-lovers dream and the possibilities of making tea-inspired gin cocktails are endless.
The black peppercorn made this gin taste even more floral and you couldn’t detect any spice. With the pink peppercorns, the gin took on a candied flower flavor with a fruity peppery kick and was as a whole, bolder and spicier.
The Fleurette Vermilion Gin is tart and flowery on the front and has a lingering bitter syrup taste on the back. I decided to try smelling it next to some chamomile and hibiscus flowers, rosehips and dried lavender and it really brought out the floral notes.
I think flower based syrups and teas would really shine with this gin.
The overall impression of the black peppercorn version is sweet and it makes the gin less syrupy and more honey-sweet with very little spice. There are similarities with the pink peppercorn version as it also comes off as honey-sweet. But it has a fruity pepper kick that decreases the flowery flavors and increases the fruity. I liked it better than the black peppercorn version.
Ahhh the smell of this one. I get a lot of orange and cumin and it definitely smells different from most gins. It’s distilled from grapes, which does create a different mouthfeel than corn-it’s very luscious on the tongue rather than dry. Even a small sip makes it feel like you have a mouthful of gin.
The orange and cumin really shine with the black peppercorn version and there is a very small hint of strawberry and not a lot of spice. The pink peppercorn version is very similar to the black peppercorn but it emphasizes the natural flavors of the gin even more.
I tasted lemon on the front with a peppery finish, and a kind of tonic water feel on the tongue afterward. This is incredibly dry and I feel like it would make the perfect dry martini.
The black peppercorn version is a very subtle pairing. I tasted citrus on the front with a fruity end and it is very light with very little spice. With the pink peppercorns, you get a sweeter flavor with an equal amount of gin, strawberry, and citrus flavor.
DIY Gin Bar Recipes
Here are all the recipes that are part of the DIY Gin Bar!
- Strawberry Gin Fizz
- Blackberry Gin Fizz
- Mint Gin Fizz
- Lemon Gin Fizz with Cucumber and Dill
- Orange Gin Fizz
- Gin Lemonade Cocktail
- Strawberry Shrub with Basil and Peppercorn
- Blackberry Shrub with Vanilla and Earl Grey
- Lemon Shrub with Cardamom and Mint
- Orange Shrub with Cardamom and Thyme
- Orange Shrub Recipe with Yunnan Tea and Szechuan Peppers
- Vanilla Bean Sugar
- Orange Sugar with Szechuan Peppers
- Lemon Zest Sugar with Cardamom
- DIY Citrus Sugar with Lemon and Dill
- Lemon and Lavender Infused Sugar
- Orange-Basil Strawberry Mocktail
- Vanilla Earl Grey Blackberry Mocktail
- Sparkling Basil Lemon Mocktail
- Lemon-Dill Cucumber Mocktail
- Rosemary & Mint Lemonade Mocktail
It’s Officially Summer
The DIY Gin Bar went really well (I threw it on June 15th) and right now I’m working on getting all the recipes up and writing up all my observations and advice for throwing your own.
Summer is here though and I’m struggling to get motivated to work, especially since my eyes are glued to the TV watching the World Cup. I’ll also be going to Reedsport, Oregon for about a week on Thursday.
I’ll try my best because you guys need these cocktails and mocktails for your summer fun!
Strawberry Gin Fizz
This Strawberry Gin Fizz is fruity & herbaceous with a current of bright strawberry-orange flavor, a slight peppery undertow, and refreshing basil aroma.
- 3 basil leaves
- 1 strawberry
- 1/2 inch thick orange slice if the orange is really large, cut it into quarters so it will fit in the cocktail shaker
- 1 teaspoon Orange Sugar with Szechuan Peppers*
- 2 ounces gin*
- 1 ounce Strawberry Shrub with Basil and Peppercorn*
- club soda to top or to taste I used Fever-Tree Club Soda
Place a handful or two of ice cubes in a tall high ball glass.
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the basil, strawberry, orange slice, and sugar until the basil is very aromatic and slightly bruised looking, the sugar is mostly dissolved, and the strawberry and orange have been flattened and released their juices.
Add the gin and shrub and top with ice.
Shake well, until the shaker is very cold and is sweating.
Strain into the prepared high ball glass, top with club soda, and garnish. You can garnish with an orange wedge or slice, basil leaves, strawberries, and edible flowers if desired.
*See the recipe for Orange Sugar with Szechuan Peppers here
*See the recipe for the Strawberry Shrub with Basil and Peppercorn here
Neat Version: Double strain into a chilled coupe or rocks glass and garnish
This Strawberry Gin Fizz will taste different depending on what gin you use. Each distillery adds different botanicals so each gin can make a vastly different cocktail.
Gins I used with this drink & in the DIY Gin Bar:
- St. George Spirits, Botanivore Gin
- St. George Spirits, Terroir Gin
- St. George Spirits, Dry Rye Gin
- Young and Yonder Spirits, H.O.B.S. Gin
- Griffo Distillery, Scott Street Gin
- New Alchemy Distilling, Fleurette Gin
- New Alchemy Distilling, Fleurette Vermilion Gin
- Sipsong Spirits, Indira Gin
- Sonoma Brothers Distilling Gin