Fancy Gin


Prep time5 minutes


Fancy Gin in the gardenThis simple old-fashioned cocktail is a great way to assess various gins because the other flavors are easy to identify, but they still bring balance and flavor to the glass.

The oldest-style cocktails were simply liquor (often of a markedly inferior grade by today's standards) with simple syrup or sugar and bitters. The obvious next step was to substitute a sweet liqueur for the sugar, and Triple Sec was a common choice.

There are Fancy Whiskeys, Fancy Brandys, etc, all using this same formula of 4 parts liquor to 1 part Triple Sec and either Angostura or Orange Bitters.    


1⁄2ozTriple Sec
1dsOrange Bitters


Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
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Try these...

I was experimenting with a friendly and cooperative bartender at The Kennebunk Inn ( and we did a twist on a classic martini with Bombay Dry and St. Germain elderflower liqueur (4:1) garnished with a twist, and it was terrific.

 We also did the same thing, but with Canton ginger liqueur.  I thought it was going to be great, but I couldn't really taste the ginger.  I want to give that one another shot (maybe garnished with a ribbon of pickled ginger on a toothpick?), but I don't generally stock Canton at home.  Maybe I should.  Do you know of any other good uses for it?

uses for ginger liqueur

I haven't seen ginger liqueur much in my researches of classic cocktails; I suspect it is a newer entry on the scene. But mixologists have surely muddled ginger with sugar so I will keep my eyes open.

In fact, ginger is an essential important component of Falernum Syrup (, and it may be that the Domaine Canton liqueur is a simplified version of that. That would make it a natural in tiki cocktails.  

Ginger is a classic complement to orange and it plays nicely with cranberry and blueberry. Sweetgrass Farm Winery in Union ME ( makes a Cranberry Gin - you can get it in Freeport at Bow Street Market.

I would try the spicy flavors with one of Maine's three warmer, spicier gins: Cold River, Ingenium, and the new Alchemy Gin. Maine's other gin, the Back River Gin from Sweetgrass, is more straight-ahead, for Martinis.

While you are playing with spicy profiles, don't forget the bitters - they can often round out many undistinguished mixtures. Sweet vermouth is good here, too.