Gin Citrus Cocktail: Bright Lights, Big City!

Learn how to order a dink that's right for you, how to make a yummy lemon simple syrup and mix the perfect Gin Citrus Cocktail for even non-gin fans!

Gin Citrus Cocktail with Title

Fall 2012 was the season of gin for me, that’s why I wanted to create a delicious gin citrus cocktail. I grew up with bourbon in Louisiana (oh baby, its my first love!). Rum and Tequila in Miami (tu eres muy loca, Mami!). I don’t know nothin ’bout no gin. But with Atlanta’s booming cocktail mixology movement and my growing love of all things cocktail (let’s get to the root of the matter here), I decided what I didn’t know, I should learn.

Know your Cocktail Mojo…

So just after summer I decided that every cocktail I order will be gin based. Easy enough in the ATL. I discovered that gin is herbaceous with a hint of juniper and lends itself easily to cocktails that aren’t sweet. I can’t do sweet anymore. We’ve established that. But I can do strong, herbaceous, and not sweet…Which is exactly what I tell the bartenders and waitstaff of our ever evolving foodie heaven that is Atlanta.

What's Your Cocktail Mojo?

What’s Your Cocktail Mojo?

Here’s a hint: know what you like! The waitstaff & bar staff know what they offer. If you give them a short synopsis like “I love sweeter drinks with fruit and vodka and rum but don’t love “herby” drinks…and not too strong” (I’m gagging right now, but to each his own) then they will bring you the perfect libation! So fun!

Gin Citrus Cocktail

Today, I’m making a gin citrus cocktail that’s fresh and bright and an easy way for even the non-gin lovers to fall in love with. I’m calling it the “Bright Lights, Big City” because its so fresh and bright and highlights something that should be on everyone’s bar… Gin (which I grew fond of after a cocktail served at Cochon in New Orleans). Try it, even if you think you don’t love gin. And you can make a pitcher of it, which makes it a great cocktail for parties!

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Fill a glass full of crushed ice and the ice mellows even the strongest of cocktails.


Making a simple syrup is SIMPLE!!!

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Follow this recipe to make the Lemon Simple Syrup.

  1. Bring equal parts sugar & water to a boil, stir and turn off heat.
  2. Add flavoring (Like fresh lemon peel) and allow to cool until room temp or overnight.
  3. Strain into a mason jar and keep in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

This basic recipe can be used with any citrus rind to transform it into lime, orange, or grapefruit flavor. Check out these other cocktail recipes using flavored simple syrups: Rosemary Rush and the Summertime Lemonade Martini.

Gin Citrus Cocktail
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Prep Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 1 cocktail

Gin Citrus Cocktail

Bright, Citrusy and Delicious!


  • 2oz Gin
  • 1oz Brandy
  • 1oz Triple Sec or Orange Liqueur
  • 1oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1oz lemon simple syrup
  • 8 dashes Orange Bitters
  • Crushed Ice
  • Lemon Peel Twist, for garnish
    Lemon Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • peel of 1 lemon


    Lemon Simple Syrup
  • Place all ingredients in a pot over high heat.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Remove from heat and let sit for 1 hour.
  • Strain syrup and store in an airtight container in fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  • Fill a glass with crushed ice.
  • Mix ingredients and pour over ice.


For a quick cocktail keep a batch of simple syrup in the fridge. It will keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. A mason jar works great.