A gin and tonic is an easy drink to make. It's just gin and tonic... right?
Actually, no! There is so much more to perfecting this serve! Gin's main botanical (juniper berries) gives the gin its distinct flavour but to make a great gin, you normally use more than just juniper berries and this throws in complexity for us poor G&T drinkers. Traditionally, gin and tonic was served with either lemon or lime and both add a fresh element to any gin and tonic. But today with the abundance of gins on the market and a deluge of tonics to chose from, it is easy to get confused and if you want to go a little more exotic, how can you create a harmony rather than a cacophony in your glass?
Whilst it all comes down to personal preference, we at Driftwood, will try to guide your through the 2021 Gin and Tonic maze. Lets begin... Do you like your gin and tonic bitter and full-bodied, or do you prefer something with a more aromatic finish? How much ice should you use? And most importantly, what is the ratio of gin to tonic?
What botanicals are in your gin?
We distil very special Gins at Driftwood Distillery where we emphasise one or two botanicals within each recipe. For example we highlight the citrus notes of juniper by using more orange or lemon peel in Donkey Jack Gin. For the herbal notes you find in JVS Gin, we use botanicals such as rosemary or lemon thyme. And for the warmer spicier Chowhound gin, we use more cinnamon, cardamom and coriander. Rose Finch bucks the trend because we add spicy orange bitters which creates more of a floral note. Each gin is distinct and needs special attention when it comes to the tonic
Pro Tip 1. Before you chose your tonic water, find out what botanicals are the strongest in your gin.
What botanicals are in Tonic Water?
A Gin & Tonic is not just Gin and a can of tonic. A good Gin and Tonic should offer more than just the basic note of Gin, but also exhibit the other botanicals found in your gin. So you need to find a tonic water that has the same or similar flavours. For example a gin that has citrus notes will be complimented by a Tonic with citrus. And a gin that contains cardamom will go well with tonic where one of the ingredients is ginger. A floral gin can go well with tonic that has either citrus or maybe leave the tonic and chose a lemonade that is not too sweet. A herbal gin needs to have tonic with cucumber or don't forget the indian tonic water that will support any gin! Gin is an extremely versatile spirit and tonic waters today have evolved to match its complexity, so have fun... try them out!
Pro Tip 2. Create a harmony not a cacophony by choosing tonic waters that have complimenting ingredients.
How much Gin do you need per serving?
As we know, each gin taste is wildly different so maybe there is no scientific theory for this. Some G&Ts have a strong, bold flavour whereas others are more delicate or floral and like to take a back seat. My rule of thumb is this: Gin should be the dominant flavour, but not so much that it overpowers its other ingredients. Measurements here in Europe come in ml and standard jiggers are either 40ml or 50ml. The ratio that I like to use is 1:3. Therefore, if you want to use 120ml of tonic water, you need 40ml of gin. And if you like a generous pour with 50ml of gin, then you will need 150ml of tonic water. With this, you can not go far wrong!
Pro Tip 3. With 1 part gin and 3 parts tonic, you can scale to your heart's content!
Chose a garnish that will complement the botanicals in the gin and the tonic
The garnish that you chose is not just about decoration for your gin and tonic but it could have a real effect on the flavours. Classic garnishes include lemon/lime wedges, orange slices or berries (e.g. strawberries). These are fruity flavours and will complement gin with a citrus botanical. There is nothing wrong if you like to add your own twist; try cucumber, rosemary or even mint! And if you like a spicier gin and tonic try adding some ginger or black peppercorns. Today, anything goes but again, keep it complimentary!
Pro Tip 4. Garnish is the final component to compliment your gin and tonic pairing... keep it in the same flavour family!
Use enough ice to cool but not dilute
You need to use enough ice to cool but not dilute your gin and tonic. so I like to fill my Copa gin glass to about 3/4 full. As a minimum use at least 2-3 cubes. You want to avoid ice melting into your gin and tonic as it will dilute the flavours of both ingredients. So, using the bigger ice cubes will help cool, but not water down your gin and tonic. Of course, if you want to make a gin and tonic like a pro, you should always cool your glass first, but if you are like me, maybe you just don't have the patience to wait!
Pro Tip 5. Larger ice cubes will cool rather than dilute in your glass! When in doubt, go large!
So there you have it...
5 things to consider when preparing your Gin & Tonic
- Pro Tip 1. Before you chose your tonic water, find out what botanicals are the strongest in your gin.
- Pro Tip 2. Create a harmony not a cacophony by choosing tonic waters that have complimenting ingredients.
- Pro Tip 3. With 1 part gin and 3 parts tonic, you can scale to your heart's content!
- Pro Tip 4. Garnish is the final component to compliment your gin and tonic pairing... keep it in the same flavour family!
- Pro Tip 5. Larger ice cubes will cool rather than dilute in your glass! When in doubt, go large!