Courtesy of Fever Tree
The gin and tonic just might be the easiest cocktail of all. It's a two-ingredient drink—made from a combination of, you guessed it, gin and tonic—with a simple but essential citrus garnish. But as with every recipe with minimal components, the quality of each element is extremely important. Here we're sharing our classic recipe for making a gin and tonic and explaining the elements of the drink. Use this basic formula to test drive some different gins, find the tonic that pairs best with your favorite gin and decide what glass, how much ice you like, and how you'll garnish your G&T.
It's sometimes called the gin tonic, in the UK it's often referred to as a G&T. Whatever name you give it, the gin and tonic is a classic cocktail and a mixed drink that doesn't require a cocktail shaker, muddling spoon, or other mixology equipment. It doesn't even require a special glass like a martini does. It's a refreshing cold drink on a hot summer night, when a more boozy cocktail would be too much. In fact, there are those who assert the G&T is a summer drink but there are others—many others, actually—who believe this classic is a refreshing sip any time of the year.
There are so many gins available on the market, and just as the bottles and branding vary widely, so do the alcohol inside. The best-known type of gin is London dry gin like Bombay ($21.99, drizly.com). Gins like Botanist ($41.99, drizly.com) from the Scottish island of Islay are dry but more delicate. Monkey 47 ($43.99, drizly.com) combines juniper with a complex array of botanicals for a balanced spirit. Other gins such as Hendricks ($37.99, drizly.com), which is made with cucumber and rose petals, are sweeter and more floral. Which gin you use is a matter of personal preference or mood. And don't forget non-alcoholic gin like Sundays ($39.99, amazon.com) for a booze-free G&T.
This colorless, bubbly beverage might seem like second fiddle to the gin, but it's absolutely not. Two thirds of your gin and tonic is tonic water, so if the tonic is flat or off-tasting or overly sweet, there goes your perfect drink. To keep it fresh, we suggest using individual bottles of tonic from Q Mixers ($3.99, walmart.com), Fever Tree ($4.99, target.com), or 1724 ($9.99, totalwine.com). One bottle makes about two drinks, so spilt one with a friend or make yourself a refill.
The traditional glass for a gin and tonic is a highball, but you can certainly still enjoy a gin and tonic in something else. Some people prefer a shorter glass like the Gigoyne tumblers ($45 for 12, food52.com), but there's a lot to be said for a large wine goblet called a copa. That's the glass used for a more spicy and herbal Spanish gin and tonic, made with Gin Mare ($39.99, drizly.com) and garnished with a sprig of rosemary. The balloon shape of the glass allows you to add more garnishes, and it highlights the drink's aromatics with each sip.
There must be ice, but whether you opt for one oversized cube or sphere or a few smaller cubes is up to you.
Lime or Lemon?
Most gin-and-tonic aficionados think lime the is perfect partner to the drink. Naysayers say lemon is the way to go, and some outliers finish the drink with Meyer lemon or a slice of cucumber. Ultimately, you use whatever you like best, and add it to the drink—in the form of a slice, wedge, or twist—in the way you find most appealing.
How to Make a Gin and Tonic
This is, as we mentioned, an easy drink and there's not too much to remember. Use a jigger, shot glass, or kitchen measuring cup to portion out your drink (so one jigger of gin and three of tonic).
• 1 part gin
• 3 parts tonic water, chilled
• Lime twist or slice
Add ice to the glass, pour gin over the ice, then add the tonic water. Twist the lime peel over the drink to release the citrus oils, then drop it into the glass. Yes, it really is that simple.