The Gibson and the Gimlet, the Martini and the Martinez, the Negroni and the Vesper, the Tom Collins and the Singapore Sling -- the pleasures of gin go many ways and year-round. And they have appeal in this temperature, especially if you have good tonic handy.

In "Classic Cocktails," Salvatore Calabrese advises that "this juniper-flavored spirit is arguably the most active spirits category." Not bad for a beverage created to help with kidney problems and later used as a staple with quinine water to battle malaria.

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There are plenty of very satisfying gins on the shelves. Try Nolet's Silver Dry Gin (about $50), a floral, fruity cocktail-friendly choice from Holland; and Caorunn ($30-$40), a smooth and herbaceous choice from Scotland. Tanqueray No. Ten (about $30) is a fine and versatile gin, refreshing and full of citrus notes. Martin Miller's Gin ($30 to $40) unfolds bright, citrusy, as a sipper and in a cocktail. Hendrick's Gin ($35 to $45), with its rush of botanicals and distinctive infusion of cucumber, is sure to enliven the festivities.

The recipe for gin and tonic, of course, is basic. The "Mr. Boston Platinum Edition" recipe is two ounces of gin poured into an ice-filled highball class and finished with tonic water. Ian Fleming added lime to the James Bond version in "Dr. No." And there are only two ingredients in a Gibson unless you count the cocktail-onion garnish: 2.5 ounces of gin and one-half ounce of dry vermouth. Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.