It might be odd that a spirit originally from England has become an ideal warm-weather drink. But there’s no arguing gin’s floral botanicals mix well with the fresh fruits of spring.

Shaun Byrne, bar consultant at Good Measure, and formerly of Melbourne’s Gin Palace, says that with a host of high-quality, locally produced mixers, flavoured tonic waters and syrups on the market, there’s never been a better time to put a spin on the classic gin and tonic.

One of Byrne’s favourite gin mixers is dry tonic. “It’s less sweet than traditional tonic,” says Byrne. “It works perfectly with a lighter gin.”

For those looking to depart from tonic altogether Charles Casben, manager at Moya’s Juniper Lounge in Sydney, says pairing gin with the sweetness and slight bitterness of a vermouth or amaro is another option: “The herbal spices tend to marry really easily with gin.”

When it comes to fruits – Byrne and Casben agree there’s no better match with gin than citrus. Both stress seasonality here. Casben’s hot tip is to track down some blood limes. He describes them as a cross between a finger lime and mandarin. “They’re a lot fresher and brighter than regular limes,” he says. “The skin has a lot of character and there’s a bitter edge.”

Casben says there’s also blood orange, pink grapefruit, Japanese yuzu, native finger limes, desert limes and lemon aspen to consider. Though not too much. “A lot of the time it’s as simple as getting a fresh citrus and squeezing it in a glass of soda water with a shot of gin,” says Casben.

Casben and Byrne have shared a couple of their favourite gin-based cocktails.

Casben’s Aviation
Makes one. Approximately 1.9 standard drinks.

Ingredients:
50ml Tanqueray gin
20ml fresh lemon juice
10ml maraschino liqueur
1tsp of violet liqueur

Method:
Place all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lavender bud.

Casben’s Poet’s Dream (“kind of like a dry Martini”):
Makes one. Approximately 1.6 standard drinks.

Ingredients:
40ml Tanqueray gin
20ml dry vermouth
10ml Dom Benedictine herbal liqueur
2 dashes of orange bitters

Method:
Stir all the ingredients together in a mixing glass over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprig of baby’s breath.

Byrne’s G&T Punch
Makes one. Approximately 1.4 standard drinks.

Ingredients:
30ml Tanqueray gin
30ml sweet vermouth
20ml blood orange sherbet*
10ml fresh lemon juice
100ml tonic water
Dash of Mister Bitters Pink Grapefruit & Agave Bitters can be purchased here

*Method:
Add all the ingredients to a highball glass with ice, finishing with tonic. Stir gently to combine. Garnish with mint and a wedge of blood orange.

*To make blood-orange sherbet, zest and juice six blood oranges, keeping the juice and zest separate. Weigh the juice, then add the same weight of caster sugar to the zest and leave in a warm place for a few hours, stirring occasionally. When all the sugar is moist, add the juice, stir to dissolve and strain. Will last for a week in the fridge.

Byrne’s Iced-Tea Spritz
Makes one. Approximately 1.9 standard drinks.

Ingredients:
45ml Tanqueray no. TEN
90ml chilled black tea*
30ml fresh lemon juice
20ml sugar syrup
60ml prosecco

Method:
Build all ingredients over ice in a wine glass, finishing with prosecco, and stir gently to combine. Garnish with the prettiest fresh flower from the garden.

*To make chilled black tea, take 50g of English breakfast tea and soak with 1 litre of cold water overnight. Strain before using. It will last for a few days in the fridge.

**To make sugar syrup, dissolve equal weights of sugar and cold water together. Will keep for up to a week in the fridge.