British army officers in India get all the credit for making the gin and tonic wildly popular. Did you know they drank quinine and gin cocktails to ward off malaria? These days, we drink G&Ts for the taste and not for any anti-malarial properties. What used to be a utilitarian drink is now an elegant quaff at any summer party. If you want to make a more sophisticated version of a gin and tonic for your next gathering, read on to see five simple suggestions for enhancing your favorite mixed drink.
1. Swap Dry Gin for Floral Gin
Many people reach for a London Dry Gin when mixing up a pitcher of G&Ts, but a floral gin can impart subtle, sophisticated flavors to the final drink. Hendrick’s Gin is usually easy to find, but I’m partial to Magellan Gin, which is made with iris. We have more floral gin recommendations in our post on the best floral gins.
2. Take a Trip to Spain
The Spanish take on a gin and tonic is the “Gin-Tonic,” which has a couple of key variants from the cocktail you know and love. The Gin-Tonic’s most notable difference is the glass, which is normally a coupe or balloon glass. The shape of the glass captures and concentrates the drink’s aromas. A Gin-Tonic also has more ice than the G&T. Garnishes can include either fruits or vegetables along with herbs that reinforce the herbs in the gin itself. This type of G&T would be ideal for a summer party serving tapas.
3. Channel Your Inner James Bond
Bond is known for drinking a vodka martini, but in the book version of Dr. No he drinks a gin and tonic with a ton of lime juice. If you’re planning a 60s-inspired soiree, this is the drink to make.
Here’s the passage from Dr. No where Ian Fleming describes what Bond is drinking:
“Bond ordered a double gin and tonic and one whole green lime. When the drink came he cut the lime in half, dropped the two squeezed halves into the long glass, almost filled the glass with ice cubes and then poured in the tonic. He took the drink out on to the balcony, and sat and looked out across the spectacular view.”
4. Give Your G&T a Royal Twist
Dubonnet may be French, but it’s still an interesting addition to a staunchly British G&T cocktail. Dubonnet makes sense in a G&T because, like tonic water, it contains quinine. Dubonnet was given to the French Foreign Legion in the 1800s, as a way of combating malaria.
According to the Telegraph, Queen Elizabeth II has a Dubonnet and gin every day as a pre-lunch cocktail. Try a blend of two parts Dubonnet to one part gin, served over ice with a lime wedge. You can add a little tonic water or club soda if you want a bubbly cocktail.
5. Swap Storebought Booze With DIY Gin
Making your own gin isn’t terribly hard, especially if you pick up a DIY gin kit (such as this one from Uncommon Goods). You simply add your favorite premium vodka to the kit’s blend of juniper and botanicals, and let it steep for 36 hours. You can experiment with adding your own botanicals to the blend in the kit.
Readers, what’s your favorite gin for making a G&T? Do you have a favorite brand of tonic water? Share your mixology secrets in the comments below!
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