Classic Gin Sling (With Variations)

Classic Gin Sling Recipe (With Variations)

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
492 Calories
3g Fat
106g Carbs
9g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 492
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 35mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 106g 38%
Dietary Fiber 22g 79%
Total Sugars 49g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 437mg 2,186%
Calcium 245mg 19%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 1346mg 29%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

It is time to enjoy a mixed drink that is truly old-school! The gin sling is such a classic cocktail that it was an iconic American drink before anyone ever dreamed up the word "cocktail" (it was mentioned in writing as early as 1785).

The original slings would be made with gin, brandy, whiskey, or rum. It was the way to mix up a drink almost decades before ​famous bartenders like Jerry Thomas stepped behind the bar in the late 1800s. Today, the best-known version of the gin sling is far more complex.

In all honesty, this gin sling recipe is probably going to appeal most to modern drinkers. As you will see, it is a completely different drink than the traditional gin sling. This version is tall and refreshing with a perfect balance of sweet, sour, bitter, and herbal. It is a superb cocktail and a fantastic break from easy gin and soda drinks like the gin rickey.


Click Play to See This Classic Gin Sling Come Together

"A sling cocktail should have a bite from the spirit, a seamless mingling of sweet and sour, and a pleasant mouthfeel that keeps a smile on your face. A well-made sling will leave a lasting effect on how you perceive cocktails, and this recipe will put you firmly on the path of mixology discernment." —Sean Johnson

Classic Gin Sling (With Variations) Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Classic Gin Sling Recipe (With Variations) ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a cocktail shaker, pour the gin, sweet vermouth, simple syrup, lemon juice, and bitters. Fill with ice.

    gin, sweet vermouth, simple syrup, and bitters next to a cocktail shaker with ice

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Shake well.

    cocktail shaker

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Strain into a collins glass filled with fresh ice.

    gin, sweet vermouth, simple syrup, and bitters in a glass with ice

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Top with soda, garnish with a lemon twist. Serve and enjoy.

    Classic Gin Sling Recipe (With Variations), garnished with a lemon twist

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Recipe Variation

You can also enjoy the gin sling the way early Americans did. As you can see, it is a simple drink recipe and, is little more than diluting and sweetening a shot of gin. That said, for all its simplicity, it is a great drink.

In his book, "Imbibe!," David Wondrich devotes four pages to the discussion of slings. It is a fascinating read for any cocktail history geek and many of the tips in this recipe are pulled from it.

Most interesting is Wondrich's note that other than the nutmeg, even Jerry Thomas had a hard time distinguishing the toddy from the sling. Whatever you do, don't forget the nutmeg! It is what makes this classic gin sling great.

  • To make a classic gin sling, dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in an old-fashioned glass with 1/2 ounce water. Add 2 ounces gin and a few ice cubes. Stir well and finish with freshly grated nutmeg.
  • As with the modern gin sling, replace the gin to create a whiskey sling, rum sling, or brandy sling.
  • If you want to make a "hot gin sling," simply use hot water instead of cold.

How Strong Is a Gin Sling?

The modern gin sling is no stronger or lighter than the average gin highball (e.g., gin and tonic). It should have an alcohol content around 10 percent ABV (20 proof). The classic version is a different story, weighing in around 26 percent ABV (52 proof), nearly as strong as the gin martini.