Celebrate National Gin & Tonic Day with this Elevated Classic
Story and Pix: Anastacia Uriegas
Gin, tonic, lime -- the O.G. gin and tonic is an uncomplicated yet tried-and-true formulation which originated on British ships stationed in India during the mid-19th century as a preventative treatment for malaria. Exposure to the tropical climate left British sailors vulnerable to mosquito-transmitted diseases so they drank a strong tincture of bitter quinine made from cinchona bark; sugar and lime were added to offset the sharpness...and gin. Why the addition of gin? In those days, the British stationed in India were given gin rations so adding it to the bittersweet drink made sense.
Today, the G&T is a Summer staple and a multitude of riffs and updates on the classic exist, which include the addition of fruit, herbs, spices, and herbal and bitter liqueurs like Suze and Campari. However, the foundation of any good gin and tonic is...wait for it...GIN and TONIC! For the love of all things sacred don’t use crappy ingredients, in a drink this simple they have nowhere to hide and you will have dorm room flashbacks involving ill-advised amounts of hairspray-flavored rotgut. There are so many good gins available now, try a London Dry Gin (like Beefeater) for a juniper-forward expression or a more neutral gin like Fords or Aviation. We decided to be a little extra and went with The Botanist, an artisanal gin made in the Isle of Islay where some of the world’s best Scotch is produced.
For tonic, we know it’s tempting to buy the cheap brand but honestly, it tastes cheap. Opt for Fever-Tree, Q Tonic, or even better, tonic syrup and sparkling water--you can find tonic syrup at nicer liquor stores in small bottles. Serve in a Collins glass with a straw or in a large balloon wine glass as the Spanish do. Garnish with a squeeze of lime, a lime wheel and a sprinkle of pretty dried botanicals for aroma and visual appeal--we added pink peppercorn, cardamom, juniper berries, cinnamon, and hibiscus (which adds a hint of rosy color as it infuses!)
2 Ounces of Gin
5 Ounces of Tonic
1 Squeeze of Lime
Garnish: Lime Wheel and Dried Spices
Lime and Dried Spices for Garnish
Collins or Balloon Wine Glass
1. Add gin to Collins glass.
2. Top with ice and tonic
3. Add a squeeze of lime.
4. Garnish with lime wheel and spices.