Salud! Gin and Tonic Bars Are Sweeping Seville

Who knew G&Ts were such a big deal in Spain? (Photo: Renee Cafaro)

When I first arrived in Spain, I relished in the late-night outdoor cafés that anchor the social scene of rioja- and cerveza-drinking youth. But then I noticed several bars dedicated to the last thing I thought I would find on the Iberian Peninsula.

“Gin tonic bars,” as they call them (no “and”), are springing up everywhere and specialize in mixing fascinating new blends of a cocktail that I never imagined was so versatile. What more can you do with gin and tonic besides just mix them together? Aside from the garnish, what else could be altered? A lot. I was shown flavors of Schweppes tonic I have never heard of and over 150 brands of gin. I even discovered locally produced, infused gins from a country I wrongfully presumed produced only wines.

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Spain first became enamored with gin a few years ago, but only with gin and tonics and not other gin drinks. I first encountered the special “Gin Tonic” menu at the Madrid Ritz Hotel — or as I affectionately started calling it, “The Madritz.” On the terrace of its critically acclaimed restaurant, I noticed that the cocktail list offered over a dozen varieties of G&Ts. I first ordered a Hendrick’s concoction with citrus and floral essences that was mixed tableside in an enormous goblet. Well played, Madritz.

I next decamped for Seville, the epicenter of the gin tonic craze. There was even a gin tonic citywide competition in Seville, which I sadly missed. Here are some of Seville’s spots that will change everything you thought you knew about the G&T.

PRO TIP: Do NOT attempt a gin tonic bar crawl. The drinks indeed all come in massive, balloon wine glasses instead of the rocks glasses we are accustomed to. Choose your drinks wisely, because you might be able to handle only a couple.

London Gin Tonic Club - Calle Juan Sebastián Elcano, 14 41011 Sevilla

This was my first stop and arguably my favorite, with its slick British decor, Brit rock, and a wall of over 150 gins. Basically, heaven. There, I asked my lovely mixologist, Adriana, to surprise me with the more unique gin and tonics they offered, as they do not have a preset cocktail list. I had a classic G&T but with a few quaint additions — cucumbers straight from the official Hendrick’s cucumber pot and a dash of rose water. In most of these bars, they cut the cucumber, or pepinos, into sticks instead of rounds, as a way to add more sweetness.

These are the most massive Gin & Tonics I have ever seen. (Photo: Renee Cafaro)

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Next, I had the delicious and not-too-sweet strawberry-and-citrus G&T. It featured a local strawberry-infused gin mixed with standard tonic, carefully sliced strawberries, and a generous helping of zest. This might have been my favorite of the trip!

Bestiario - Calle Zaragoza, 33 41001 Sevilla

This is a nightclub and not solely a gin tonic bar, but I was told that it boasts some of the best G&Ts in Seville. There was a bit of a language barrier, but after some Google Translate and some charades, the bartender disappeared to concoct what I can only describe as the “Sour Patch gin tonic.”

Sweet and sour makes the gin taste extra nice. (Photo: Renee Cafaro)

It was pink from the strawberry gin, but much more sweet-and-sour than the last drink. He laboriously squeezed the essences from a lemon rind all over the exterior of the glass. It was then presented to me with sour gummy candy that truly mimicked the taste of the drink. It gets an A for presentation!

Level 5th, Hotel Ribera de Triana - Plaza Chapina, 41010 Sevilla

This lounge gets bonus points for having a gorgeous panoramic view and lovely modern decor. Here, where they specialize in a variety of tonic flavors, I sampled lavender, ginger-coriander, and cucumber-rose.

The view from Level 5th is just fantastic. (Photo: Renee Cafaro)

White Gin Tonic Collection - Calle San Fernando, 41004 Sevilla

This was the most standard gin tonic that I had on my trip, but they do have a surprisingly vast array of gins for such a small location. Here you can sip your goblet of gin outside and take in the beautiful view of the five-star Hotel Alfonso XIII while you watch the lively students from the university next door.

Just follow the blue light for delicious cocktails. (Photo: Renee Cafaro)

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Abades Triana - Calle Betis, 69 41010 Sevilla

Last but certainly not least was Abades Triana. I stumbled across this place while trying to find London Gin Tonic Club on the other side of the river from my hotel. It had some of the most incredible cuisine, in an all-white luxe restaurant with breathtaking waterside views. Romantic bateaux-mouche-style boats sailed by, giving Paris a run for its money. Gin was the star of their menu.

Hendrick’s Gin is enjoying a surge in popularity in Spain right now. (Photo: Renee Cafaro)

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