If you are going to make a gin and tonic, you may as well make it right.
What seems like a perfectly simple drink consisting of 2 ingredients and a garnish, demands a little more attention.
I come from a family of gin and tonic drinkers and the smell of it with slices of fresh lemon brings on a flood of childhood memories.
I think of lazy Sunday lunches and running down to the bottom of the garden to pick lemons off the tree.
Oh, and its the best drink to drink when you are in the bush. The heat, refreshment, mosquito’s, what's better?
The elements in the mix:
1. The Gin
Choose your favourite gin or the best quality and best tasting gin you can afford. It makes a big difference.
2. The tonic
Use tonic that is ice-cold and freshly opened from the can or bottle. You want as much carbonation as possible, there is nothing worse than a flat G & T.
3. The ice - a brilliant tip!
To make this drink perfect you need a lot of ice. The downside here is the drink gets watered down as the ice melts.
To overcome this I did some experimenting. I made tonic water ice cubes.
Makes sense right? It certainly intensifies the flavour, but the carbonation and sugar in the tonic creates a slightly fluffy, only 95% solid ice-cube. I think this is cool, but perhaps freeze slightly less fizzy tonic to make the cubes.
4. The citrus
Here you have 2 choices: lemon or lime. Both are awesome, but I now prefer lime. A friend who gave me a bottle of delicious Hendrick’s gin got me onto this. He has grown 2 lime trees in order to support his gin and tonic habit.
If possible, pick the fruit off the tree just before serving. It’s these little things that add to the overall outcome.
5. The pouring.
Once you have all the above elements in place, use either a tall or a short glass. I quite like a short fat glass because you use less tonic, thus the drink is less sweet and has a stronger gin flavour. If you are wanting a ‘thin’ gin, go for a tall glass.
My dad (the absolute expert) recommends pouring the drink as follows:
first add the gin to the glass (desired quantity)
then add the tonic slowly so as not to lose too much of the fizz
leave a big space for the ice
gently drop as many ice cubes into the glass as possible, once again in an attempt not to lose too much fizz
gently squeeze a lemon or lime wedge over the drink and drop a second unsqueezed wedge or slice into the glass
using a swizzle stick or your finger, gently press down on the ice so as to lightly mix the citrus juice through the drink
And there you have it, my take on the perfect G & T.
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- Sam Linsell