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Gin Spices: Best Ways to Spice up Your Gin-Based Drinks

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Gin is among the most popular spirits. It's a key ingredient in many popular cocktails. Although you probably think of gin as a seasonal drink or the base of your favorite summer cocktails, there is a way to enjoy it all year round.

Although choosing the best gin brands is important, gin spices are a crucial part of making the most delicious gin cocktails possible. Drink mixers help create diverse flavors and unique-looking drinks, but a good selection of gin spices can do even more. 

To show you how you can make your beverage menu more unique and enticing, no matter the season, we have prepared a list of all the gin spices that can be used. If you want to ensure your drinks are amazing, you can always turn to a mixologist or cocktail expert for help. Signature drinks can also be made with the help of gin spices. 

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What Types of Gin Spices to Use

Various spices can be used to create unique gin-based drinks. Although gin is seen as a summery type of alcohol, it can be used to create some great fall cocktails and winter cocktails.

Gin spices add depth and complexity to the otherwise not-so-unique beverages. So what can bartenders use? Here is our comprehensive list:

Key Takeaway: There is a huge variety of spices that can be used to elevate the flavor of gin and create unique cocktails to serve all year round.

Juniper Berries

Although the name would suggest this is a berry and not a type of spice, juniper berries are not actual berries. This is a spice that can be used for seasoning different dishes. It is commonly used in flavor soups, meats, stews, sauces, as well as pickled food and stuffing. Besides gin, juniper berries can be used to flavor beer too. Muddling some juniper berries into a glass of gin can enhance the flavor of this spirit. 


Ground coriander can easily be compared to ground ginger because of the intense citrusy flavors. Coriander seeds are a key ingredient in many gin drinks. This is one of the gin spices that adds citrusy, spicy notes to the cocktail. Crush them to release the flavor and add them to a gin and tonic or other gin-based beverage you may be making. 


Cardamom has a strong aroma and flavor. The latter is often described as warm and sweet, but spicy and with notes of smoke, lemon, and mint. Because of its unique flavors, in the last several years it's been used in sauces, beverages, and even chocolate confectionery. If you add it to a gin drink it will bring warmth and aromatic qualities to it. It also pairs well with floral and citrus flavors. 


Who doesn’t know and love the smell of cinnamon? It’s a classic spice for all kinds of drinks and desserts, typically served in the colder months. A cinnamon stick or a dash of ground cinnamon can do wonders for your gin cocktails! This is one of the gin spice that adds a lot of warmth and will bring that festive feel to the consumer. 


Whole black or pink peppercorns can provide a subtle spiciness and some heat to the gin drinks you are making. Hot and spicy cocktails are a whole category people love so to cater to more customers, don’t stay away from these perfect gin spices.

Star Anise 

Star Anise is a spice that gives a sweet, licorice flavor to food and drinks. It’s a great addition to gin-based drinks, especially to those that have a citrusy flavor. Star Anise also gives a holiday feel and it’s even a great cocktail garnish during the festive season. 

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Cloves have a very strong, pungent but also sweet and almost hot flavor. They are some of the most penetrating spices that will leave a numbing sensation in the mouth. Cloves will give the gin drinks you are making a warm, rich, and slightly sweet spiciness. 


Freshly grated nutmeg can be a wonderful addition to gin cocktails with cream and egg whites. It adds a spicy and nutty complexity to the beverages and also has a slight holiday feel. 


Everyone knows the aroma and flavor of ginger. Some people love it while others don’t enjoy it. However, when it’s mixed with the right other ingredients, ginger is a wonderful spice. Even one of the best gin spices. Try adding fresh ginger slices or ginger syrup to drinks. This will give a zesty and spicy kick to your gin drinks. Ginger pairs perfectly with citrus and floral gins. 


The flavor profile of Allspice is multi-dimensional. It features notes of nutmeg, cloves, as well as star anise. Black pepper, fennel, and cinnamon flavors are part of it, too. Grounding allspice in a cocktail can give it a sweet, warm, and slightly peppery feel. It’s one of the gin spices that is most commonly used in tiki-style cocktails. 


Fresh thyme can provide a pungent, spicy but sweet, and clove-like flavor. It’s a spice that provides even more flavor to gin and tonic variations. 


An interesting fact about rosemary is that it is part of the mint family. It has a fresh and pungent, yet bittersweet, lemon-pine flavor. A spring of fresh rosemary can add a piney and herbal flavor to gin cocktails. It’s the perfect match for savory gin drinks!


Basil is a spice with a pungent, sweet, and slightly spicy flavor. It goes well with a wide variety of dishes but it’s also one of the greatest gin spices to use. Fresh basil leaves can bring a lot of character and aromas to your gin drinks. It’s best to pair it with fruity and citrusy gins. 


The smell of lavender is so calming and beautiful. The best part is that it’s also a great ingredient to a bunch of drinks, including gin cocktails. So if you want to add a floral or sweet element to your drinks, use fresh lavender springs to lavender syrup. 


Saffron has a subtle earthy-sweet flavor but with a tinge of bitterness. It gives some delicate honey and floral notes. Saffron is among the best gin spices too and it infuses a luxurious and exotic feel to the drinks. 

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Frequently Asked Questions about Gin Spices

Want to learn more on this interesting topic of gin spices? These questions and answers will give you a lot of information!

Which Are the Best Spices to Use for a Classic Gin and Tonic?

Use juniper berries, coriander, and a slice of lime or lemon for a classic gin and tonic. These spices and citrus elements complement the gin's botanicals and create a good balance.

Which Spices Pair Best With Fruity and Floral Gins?

Fruity and floral gins can be enhanced with spices like star anise, cardamom, and lavender. These spices can complement the botanicals and create harmonious flavor profiles.

Which Gin Spices Should Be Used Sparingly?

Spices like cloves, nutmeg, and saffron should be used sparingly in gin cocktails. That’s because their flavors can be quite potent. Start with a small amount and adjust to your taste.

How Are Spices Infused into Gin?

Spices are typically infused into gin during the distillation process. Botanicals are added to the base spirit in a pot still or column still and heated, allowing the alcohol vapors to pass through the botanicals and extract their flavors and aromas. Some gins may also undergo maceration, where the botanicals are steeped in the base spirit before distillation.

Are There Different Types of Gin Spices?

Yes. There is a wide variety of gin spices used by distillers to create unique flavor profiles. In addition to traditional botanicals like juniper and coriander, distillers may experiment with a range of herbs, spices, fruits, and flowers to create innovative and distinctive gins.

Can I Use Gin Spices for Cocktail Garnishes or Infusions?

Yes! Many gin spices can be used for cocktail garnishes or infusions to enhance the flavor and aroma of gin-based cocktails. For example, juniper berries, citrus peels, and herbs like rosemary or thyme can be used as garnishes or steeped in gin to create flavored infusions.

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