Considering how trendy (and sometimes expensive) gin and tonic has become it’s easy to forget the humble origins of the cocktail.
In the mid-nineteenth century British Army soldiers in India had to drink tonic water containing quinine to ward off malaria. To make the disgusting murky drink more palatable the soldiers added gin, lime (which helped fight scurvy) and ice.
Fortunately, nowadays, the perfect G&T is the holy grail of the gin world and the more adventurous of us even want to expand on perfection by experimenting with our favourite tipple.
Tom Bronock of mobile cocktail bar company, The Cocktail Service, has teamed up with top names in the drinks industry to offer expert advice on how to make the perfect gin and tonic, plus 8 unique twists on everybody’s favourite classic cocktail.
The Perfect Gin and Tonic
Ever wanted to know how to make the perfect gin and tonic? Consider this the final word!
Start with a Copa glass filled to the brim with ice before adding three squeezed lime wedges, a large shot of a classic London dry gin and top with a premium tonic water. Incredibly simple, robust, aromatic and refreshing.
Cocktail suggestion by: The Cocktail Service
G&T Roman Holiday
Garnish with a lemon slice and a pine sprig. The G&T Roman Holiday is an elegant, dry and intriguing take on the classic.
Perfect gin match: VII Hills Gin is packed with Italian botanicals which work extremely well with the alpine flavour of pine.
Cocktail suggestion by: Danilo Tersigni, Founder of VII Hills Italian Dry Gin
Belsazar Rose Vermouth is the secret weapon in this intriguing G&T. Belsazar is vermouth but not as you know it; it’s bursting with summer fruits, orange and grapefruit.
Add Elephant Strength Gin, half as much Belsazar Rose and top with tonic over ice. Serve with a mint spring and two lightly crushed raspberries. A fruit smack of a G&T.
Perfect gin match: Elephant Strength Gin holds up the sweetness of vermouth very well, providing the much needed balance.
Cocktail suggestion by: Cosmo Lewis, Bar Manager Annabels Of Mayfair
Zesty grapefruit is the order of the day here. A double measure of Cotswold Gin, which counts lime and grapefruit in its botanical list, paired with a splash of freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice.
Top an ice filled Copa glass with Fentiman’s Grapefruit Tonic and, of course, garnish with a slice of pink grapefruit. The citrusy bite is the perfect accompaniment to bitter tonic.
Perfect gin match: Cotswold Dry Gin for its zesty notes of lime and grapefruit and floral notes of lavender.
Cocktail suggestion by: David Indrak, Bar Consultant, The Cocktail Service
The Orient Express
If you like things spicy then look no further. Add a liberal splash of Opihr Gin, add in a slice of ginger, half a whole red chilli and a few crushed cardamoms. Squeeze a lime wedge and top with classic Indian tonic over ice.
Perfect gin match: Opihr Gin, inspired by the ancient spice route and steeped in spices such as cardamom, ginger, cumin and coriander seeds.
Cocktail suggestion by: Jamie Cox, Bar Manager, Aynhoe Park
Muddle three strawberries (stalks removed) into a tall glass (if you don’t have a muddler- a rolling pin will do). Add a measure of Malfy Con Limone Gin and top with ice.
Half fill the glass with tonic and give a good stir to incorporate the lovely strawberry juice. Top up and garnish with a lemon slice.
Perfect gin match: Malfy Con Limone for its citrusy blast that compliments the sweet strawberry perfectly.
Cocktail suggestion by: Tom Hobbs, Head Mixologist, The Cocktail Service
Bobbys Gin which is full of exotic botanicals such as fennel, lemongrass and rosehip is matched with a slug of elderflower cordial, a dash of grapefruit juice.
Top with tonic and garnish with a fresh rosemary sprig.
Perfect gin match: Bobby’s Gin’s exotic botanicals match very well with the freshness of elderflower, which really brings the botanicals to the fore.
Cocktail suggestion by: Jasmine Peen, Bar Manager, Ying Yang
A really simple twist using widely available ingredients that aren’t seasonal specific. 50ml Gordon’s Gin is blended with 50ml Pressed Apple Juice and topped with ice and tonic.
Garnish with an apple slice and a fresh sprig of rosemary.
Perfect gin match: Gordons Gin is juniper heavy and this works very well with sweet apple juice and tonic.
Cocktail suggestion by: Rob Poulton, Head Of Diageo Bar Academy
A wow factor G&T which uses a measure of TOAD Ashmolean Gin, topped with ice and tonic and garnished with an edible flower.
The gin is filtered through rose petals and blue pea flowers, which amazingly means the drink will change colour from purple to pink as you drink.
Perfect gin match: Ashmolean Gin creates an incredible colour within the G&T and a has lovely floral notes.
Cocktail suggestion by: Cat Duerr, The Oxford Artisan Distillery
Tom Bronock is Company Director at The Cocktail Service, a mobile cocktail bar company that is at the forefront of the UK’s incredible event sector, delivering cutting edge drinks since 2009.
All images from Shutterstock.