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, deserves a little more attention. Of course this is all a matter of my opinion but let me give you a bit of background.
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 at my parents Johannesburg home. I think of running down to the bottom of the garden to pick lemons off the tree. I think of sneaking big gulps when they weren’t looking because it actually tastes delicious even to children.
My father taught me how to pour the perfect gin & tonic many years ago to ensure that if I ever made him a drink it would be just the way he liked it. These tips form the basis of where I am going on this.
Then a friend, who is very particular about his G & T poured me a drink and I immediately realised that there was such a thing as the ‘perfect gin and tonic’. He used Hendrick’s gin.
Having never tasted this delicious tipple before, it was love at first sip. Well actually it was love at first sniff, because when you smell it, the infusion of coriander, juniper, citrus and rose petal hit you with full force, you know that this is something special.
He gave me a bottle because he bought a whole case, and clearly wanted to share the love. (Thank you Chris).
Anyway, I’m not here to advertise Hendrick’s gin, but check out their website it’s a total trip. They claim that their gin tastes different to other gins because of the rose petal and cucumber infusion, as well as the small batch distillation process. The Wall Street Journal voted it the best gin in the world in 2003.
So with all of this in mind, I decided to write about how to make the perfect gin and tonic.
Oh, and its the best drink to drink when you are in the bush. The heat, refreshment, mosquito’s etc.
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
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, like the left over bits at the bottom of bottle a the end of the party.
4. The citrus
Here you have 2 choices: lemon or lime. Both are awesome, but I now prefer lime. As does my friend who gave me the bottle of Hendrick’s. 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.
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 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.
PS ~ check out how to make the perfect Paloma cocktail
I look forward to connecting with you again in the future.
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