Gin and Tonic: A Classically Refined British Cocktail Staple G in and Tonic is one of the most well-known cocktails on the planet, one ...
Gin and Tonic: A Classically Refined British Cocktail Staple
Gin and Tonic is one of the most well-known cocktails on the planet, one that has a notoriety that is remarkedly different from other popular libations that feel like a party in a glass. It’s not that it’s stuffy or boring. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, when you order a Gin and Tonic, there is a certain amount of refinement that goes along with it. It is classic, distinguished and exudes a charm of intellect and elegance all in one highball glass.
As the name suggests, a Gin and Tonic is simply gin (the higher the quality, the better) with tonic water over ice. It is typically garnished with a slice of lime, though in UK, lemons are used instead. Regardless of citrus garnish used, it’s a drink with a bit of a bitter punch, one that can be made stronger to suit your tastes with the lime or lemon adding contrast amidst the tonic bubbles as they tickle your palate.
The Gin and Tonic has an interesting history that came about thanks to the army of the British East India Company in India. As malaria was a large problem in the olden days, a Scottish doctor in the 1700s by the name of George Cleghorn found that drinking quinine could help treat and even prevent malaria. Quinine was added to tonic water, but it was a horribly bitter taste that was considered most unpleasant. In the early 19th century, British officers in India created a mixture with water, lime, sugar and gin to the quinine to make it easier on the palate.
Today, tonic water contains less quinine than the olden days and is typically sweetened so it doesn’t give off that shockingly bitter taste it once did. While this cocktail is still a bit more bitter than most, the balance of sweetness in the tonic with the citrus makes it a pleasing bitterness.
In order to fully appreciate a proper Gin and Tonic, you should choose a quality gin. It makes all the difference. There are plenty of top-shelf brands to select from so it really is all a matter of taste. For some Tanqueray is the winner, but others prefer Bombay Sapphire or Beefeater. With the heated debate on lemon or lime for garnishing, your preference will vary too, however there is great fun to be had in experimenting to see which one dazzles your palate the most.
Though you don’t have to decide if you don’t wish to. In the UK it is perfectly acceptable to use both the lemon and lime together, which they call an Evans. In the case of Beefeater drinkers, many like a slice of orange as their garnish because it accentuates the Seville oranges that are used in the botanicals it is distilled with.
Head to Spain and you’ll find a different variation that they call Gin-Tonic, served in a balloon or coupe glass atop plenty of ice with a garnish that pairs well with the selected gin’s flavors. Gin-Tonic bars are very popular there where patrons can select their preferred brand of gin, tonic and garnish to create their ultimate pairing.
After a long day at the office, why not retire for the evening with a Gin and Tonic in hand and the world at your fingertips?