Make the best gin and tonic with these 3 recipes

With a short, to-the-point list of ingredients, the gin and tonic is an exercise in minimalist bartending. The ingredients – and the manufacturing process – of the crisp, light, and bitter drink are right in its name. Poured over ice, the effervescent combination makes for a refreshing and quick-pour cocktail. Still, a good drink is only as good as the sum of its parts, and when a drink’s ingredient list is two ingredients long, it pays to choose wisely.

Start with the gin. The bottle you choose and the flavor profiles it contains will have a profound impact on your final beverage. You can make a G&T with any gin you love and/or have on your bar, but if you want to pour a traditional take, reach for juniper-tinged, boldly aromatic London Dry Gins. To be classified as London Dry, no flavors or botanicals may be added after the distillation process. Despite the nickname, London Dry Gins can be made anywhere in the world – the name refers to the style rather than where the gin is made. If you prefer a G&T with less assertive juniper, the Plymouth-style gin is smoother and more floral. Or branch out into craft bottles like Amass Dry Gin or Future Gin, both of which are distilled in Los Angeles.

For the tonic, to get a balanced drink that doesn’t get too sweet, use a high-quality dry tonic – like Fever-Tree or Q Tonic. If you’re using a sweeter tonic, keep the drink from becoming sugary by substituting some of the tonic with seltzer or soda. Whichever tonic you choose, make sure it’s cold. The low temperature helps the carbonation last longer, keeping your G&T vibrant and bright throughout the drink. (Speaking of keeping cool, choose ice cubes big enough to melt slowly; the drink stays cold but doesn’t dilute too quickly.)

Now that you’ve settled on the basics, it’s time to reconsider your take on gin and tonic’s third ingredient: fresh lime. If you choose to add it, cut the citrus into wedges and either squeeze one straight into the jar or drop it in unsqueezed for a slightly less strong flavor. If you prefer to garnish with something other than lime, you can reflect the botanicals in your chosen gin. Lemon, grapefruit, cucumber, or herbs like mint, rosemary, basil, or thyme can all provide complementary layers of aroma and flavor.

Finally, ingredients firmly in hand, mix your drink. The G&T’s traditional measure – 1 part gin, 3 parts dry tonic – is a great place to start, and then you can let your personal preferences run free. Fill your glass with ice, add gin followed by tonic, or if you want the drink to mix completely, pour in half the tonic, add the gin and finish with the remaining tonic.

When you master the classic, play with the form. An XLG&T (Extra Lime Gin & Tonic) lands in the lime-as-necessity G&T lager, served in the traditional glass of choice: the Collins. The G&T&S (Gin & Tonic & Suze) contains a bright yellow draw of gentian-based Suze that enhances the drink’s inherently bitter edges. The G&T&J (Gin & Tonic & Jam) taps into the apricot jam jar of your morning toast.

Whatever form your next G&T takes – from minimalist classic to ramshackle nouveau – thoughtful attention to detail ensures a low-effort, high-reward upgrade.

Get the recipes:

Time5 minutes

incomeMakes 1 drink

Time5 minutes

incomeMakes 1 drink

Time5 minutes

incomeMakes 1 drink

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