Go-To

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Cocktail History

The Go-To is a modern cocktail that was created by bartender Rob Krueger at Extra Fancy in New York City, New York and was first published in The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks by the editors of PUNCH and Megan Krigbaum. This cooling recipe is made with gin, citrus, elderflower, cucumber, and mint, and it got its name when Krueger told a patron at his bar that he always turned to this drink when customers asked for “a refreshing gin of vodka drink that’s not too sweet or has cucumber.”

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Gin: This is the base spirit. The recipe specifically called for Ford’s Gin, but we went with Suntory Roku Gin for its complexity thanks to six Japanese botanicals. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Dry London Spirit in place of the gin.

Lime Juice: This adds sour citrus flavors for balance. We prefer to use fresh lime juice because it’s less bitter than the bottled stuff and tastes better.

Elderflower Liqueur: This is an alcoholic beverage made with a spirit and elderflower. We used Edinburgh Gin Distillery Elderflower Gin Liqueur because it’s high quality and has a fresh, floral aroma and taste. For a mocktail version of this drink, try elderflower syrup in place of the liqueur.

Ginger Beer: This adds ginger beer flavor, stretches out the drink, and makes it lighter and more refreshing. We recommend using Q Mixers Ginger Beer to most closely replicate this recipe’s taste, but other ginger beers may work if you can’t find that brand.

Mint Leaves: These are shaken in the drink to add fresh mint flavor.

Cucumber Slices: These are also shaken in the drink and used as one of the garnishes to add fresh cucumber flavor and aroma.

Mint Sprig: This is the other garnish. It adds more fresh mint aroma.

Tasting Notes

The Go-To begins with fresh, alkaline aromas of mint and cucumber and has a cooling flavor tinged with cucumber and ginger beer’s spice along with plenty of floral notes. The aftertaste then combines more florals with gin botanicals and a noticeable ginger beer zing.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: It doesn’t happen all that often, but Kendall ended up liking this cocktail much more than Alex did, citing the light and refreshing properties that it was created for. Meanwhile, Alex found it to be just a bit too much of a good thing because none of the flavors really stood out enough for it to be intriguing to him. You’ll just have to try it for yourself to find out if it might be the old faithful at your own bar.

Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“I think this drink would be fairly pleasing to many palates, especially if you’re already a fan of the Moscow Mule; however, it is a far cry from the former, featuring heavy elderflower flavor along with the cool properties of cucumber and a touch of mint. I personally found it to be super tasty but a bit spicy for my palate, and I think it would benefit from adjusting the ginger beer used down slightly or adding touch of simple syrup.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“I really liked this drink! A couple of sips in, and it made me wish so very much that cucumber didn’t give me raging heartburn so I could down the whole thing. It’s so light and refreshing and has a spicy yet cooling quality that makes it an incredibly easy sip. This is great for a hot summer day when you want something light and gin-based but a little different than the classic mint drinks.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks by the editors of PUNCH and Megan Krigbaum.

AuthorThe Essential Cocktail BookPrep Time5 minsRating

Ingredients
 2 oz Gin
 ¾ oz Lime Juice
 ½ oz Elderflower Liqueur
 Ginger Beer
 8 Mint Leaves
 5 Cucumber Wheels
 1 Mint Sprig

Method
1

Add gin, lime juice, elderflower liqueur, mint leaves, three cucumber wheels, and ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice.

4

Top with ginger beer.

5

Garnish with remaining cucumber wheels and mint sprig.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 2 oz Gin
 ¾ oz Lime Juice
 ½ oz Elderflower Liqueur
 Ginger Beer
 8 Mint Leaves
 5 Cucumber Wheels
 1 Mint Sprig

Directions

Method
1

Add gin, lime juice, elderflower liqueur, mint leaves, three cucumber wheels, and ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice.

4

Top with ginger beer.

5

Garnish with remaining cucumber wheels and mint sprig.

Go-To

Make It a Mocktail: Use Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Dry London Spirit in place of the gin and elderflower syrup in place of the liqueur to try a booze-free version of this drink.

Tools & Glassware We Recommend

More Cucumber Cocktails

If you like this cucumber-flavored cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Pimm's Cup Cocktail Recipe

Pimm’s Cup: A Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur cocktail made with lemon juice, simple syrup, soda water, Angostura aromatic bitters, a cucumber slice, a mint sprig, a lemon slice, and a strawberry

Deep Cleanse Cocktail Recipe

Deep Cleanse: A gin cocktail made with aloe vera juice, simple syrup, lime juice, and cucumber slices

Trellis Gin & Tonic Cocktail Recipe

Trellis Gin & Tonic: A gin cocktail made with cucumber and rose pink tonic water, lime juice, and a rolled cucumber ribbon

Archangel Cocktail Recipe

Archangel: A gin cocktail made with Aperol, cucumber slices, and a lemon twist

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