Go-To

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Cocktail History

The Go-To is a modern cocktail that was created by Rob Krueger at Extra Fancy in New York City, New York. 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 or vodka drink that’s not too sweet and has cucumber.”

Cocktail Ingredients

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

Gin: This is a spirit made with juniper berries, botanicals, and alcohol. We used Suntory Roku Japanese Gin because its exceptionally complex thanks to its six Japanese botanicals. For a mocktail version of this drink, try MONDAY Zero Alcohol Gin in place of the gin.

Lime Juice: This is the liquid juice of a lime. We used freshly squeezed lime juice.

Elderflower Liqueur: This is a liqueur made with elderflowers, citrus, herbs, sugar, and alcohol. We used Edinburgh Gin Distillery Elderflower Gin Liqueur because it’s high quality and has a fresh, floral aroma and flavor. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Monin Premium Elderflower Syrup in place of the elderflower liqueur.

Ginger Beer: This is a carbonated beverage made with ginger spice, yeast, and sugar. We used Q Mixers Ginger Beer because it has a delicious ginger flavor that is sweetened with agave syrup.

Mint Leaves: This is an herb. We used Mojito mint leaves.

Cucumber Slices: This is a cucumber slice that has been thinly cut into wheel shape.

Mint Sprig: This is an herb. We used Mojito mint.

Bartending Tools

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

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Boston Shaker: This is used to shake ingredients. We used the Boston shaker from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Hawthorne Strainer: This is used to strain out ice and solid ingredients after the cocktail is shaken. We used the A Bar Above Hawthorne Strainer.

Paring Knife: This is used to cut ingredients. We used the OXO Good Grips 3.5 Inch Paring Knife.

Juicer: This is used to juice citrus. We used the ALEEHAI Manual Fruit Juicer.

Cocktail Pick: This is used to hold the garnish. We used one from the I-MART Stainless Steel Cocktail Pick Set.

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 the Go-To to be 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.

Sale
The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks with 150 Recipes
The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks with 150 Recipes
Hardcover Book; Editors of PUNCH (Author); English (Publication Language); 352 Pages – 09/05/2017 (Publication Date) – Ten Speed Press (Publisher)
$13.05 Amazon Prime

AuthorThe Essential Cocktail Book

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 2 oz Gin
 ¾ oz Lime Juice
 ½ oz Elderflower Liqueur
 3 oz 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 cubed ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a highball glass filled with fresh cracked 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
 3 oz 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 cubed ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a highball glass filled with fresh cracked ice.

4

Top with ginger beer.

5

Garnish with remaining cucumber wheels and mint sprig.

Go-To

Make It a Mocktail: Use MONDAY Zero Alcohol Gin in place of the gin and Monin Premium Elderflower Syrup in place of the elderflower liqueur to try a booze-free version of this drink.

Shop Glassware & Tools

Find collections of cocktail glassware and bartending tools we recommend for your home bar in our Amazon shop.

Riedel Drink Specific Glassare Highball Glass, 10.94 Fluid Ounces
Riedel Drink Specific Glassare Highball Glass, 10.94 Fluid Ounces
All RIEDEL glasses are dishwasher safe; Capacity is 10.94 ounces; glass size is 2.56Lx2.56Wx6.06H (Inches)
$45.00 Amazon Prime
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Riedel Drink Specific Glassware Rocks & Highballs, Set of 8, 10.87 fl.oz.
Riedel Drink Specific Glassware Rocks & Highballs, Set of 8, 10.87 fl.oz.
This pack contains 8 pieces; Machine-made and dishwasher safe; Rocks Glass Capacity = 10 oz.; Highball Glass Capacity = 10 7/8 oz.
$128.63 Amazon Prime
OXO Good Grips 3.5 Inch Pairing Knife,Black/Silver,3-1/2-Inch
OXO Good Grips 3.5 Inch Pairing Knife,Black/Silver,3-1/2-Inch
Sturdy, stainless steel blade; Soft, comfortable, non-slip handle ensures a safe grip; Hand wash with warm, soapy water and promptly dry
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I-MART Stainless Steel Cocktail Picks Martini Picks Set (Pack of 15)
I-MART Stainless Steel Cocktail Picks Martini Picks Set (Pack of 15)
Measure: 4.25″; Material: stainless steel 304, color: silver; Reusable martini olive skewers, stainless steel olive stuffer.
$5.98 Amazon Prime

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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