Gin and Tonics Get Foxy

Yahoo FoodJune 30, 2014

A world of new gin styles and a rising interest in artisan and homemade tonic waters and syrups mean the classic gin and tonic is undergoing a sort of renaissance. This former staple of a drink—light, basic, satisfying—has blossomed into something complex, celebratory, and sometimes even loud. From a fruity spin made with apple and homemade anise tonic to a briny version spiked with dill pickle juice, there are infinite possible variations. 

See all of our favorite takes on the classic gin and tonic »

Los Gintonic

Vermouth adds character to this Stateside riff on the elaborate Spanish-style gin tonic, while a tonic water flavored with bitter lemon balances the aromatized wine’s sweetness. Navy-strength gin stands up to them both.


1½ oz. navy-strength gin
½ oz. dry vermouth
3 oz. bitter lemon tonic water
1 strip lemon zest, for garnish

Combine 1½ oz. navy-strength gin and ½ oz. dry vermouth in an ice-filled shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice; top with 3 oz. bitter lemon tonic and garnish with lemon zest.

See more: Warm-Weather Whiskey Cocktails »

Plymouth Gin Tonic

At Miami’s Barceloneta restaurant, sweet-tart strawberries are muddled with spicy peppercorns to make this fruity elixir.


3 strawberries
⅛ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1½ oz. navy-strength gin
4 oz. tonic

Muddle 2 strawberries and ⅛ tsp. freshly ground black pepper in a shaker; pour into an ice-filled goblet. Stir in 1½ oz. navy-strength gin. Top with 4 oz. tonic; garnish with a strawberry.

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Hierba Gin and Tonic

This pretty version from Spanish-born chef José Andrés is dressed with whole pink peppercorns, citrus, and rosemary. A dry gin lets the aromatic garnishes shine.


1½ oz. dry gin
1½ oz. tonic syrup
4 oz. club soda
1 lime wheel, for garnish
1 strip orange zest, for garnish
1 sprig rosemary, for garnish

Combine 1½ oz. each dry gin and tonic syrup in a wine glass with 1 large ice cube. Add 4 oz. club soda; garnish with 3 whole pink peppercorns, plus lime wheel, orange peel, and rosemary sprig.

See More: Tropical Tiki Cocktails »

Queen Victoria Tonic

At the Lincoln, Nebraska, speakeasy The Other Room, the aromatics that characterize Bombay Sapphire gin—raspberry-flavored orris root and peppery, flowery grains of paradise—are used to flavor the tonic that is mixed with the gin. The drink gets an extra floral boost from a touch of the elderflower liqueur St. Germain.


3 cups sugar
⅓ cup citric acid
3 tbsp. ground grains of paradise
3 tbsp. orris root powder
2 tbsp. cinchona bark powder
2 stalks lemongrass, chopped
Zest and juice of 3 limes, plus twist for garnish
2 oz. club soda
1 oz. gin, preferably Bombay Sapphire
½ oz. St. Germain liqueur

Boil sugar with 4 cups water in a 2-qt. saucepan until dissolved, 1–2 minutes. Add citric acid, grains of paradise, orris root, cinchona bark, lemongrass, and lime zest and juice; simmer 30 minutes. Strain and chill tonic. Stir 1 oz. reserved tonic, the club soda, gin, and St. Germain in a highball glass with 1 large ice cube; garnish with lime twist.

See More: Campari Cocktails »


Brisk and aromatic, celery flavors this savory gin and tonic variation in three ways: in a salt rim, in the bitters, and in the garnish. A fennel frond adds an extra layer of perfume to the drink. 


1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp celery salt
1½ oz. gin
2 dashes celery bitters
3 oz. tonic
Celery sprig and fennel fronds, for garnish

Mix kosher and celery salts on a plate. Dip the rim of an old-fashioned glass in water and then in salts. Add ice, gin, and celery bitters; top with tonic. Garnish with celery sprig and fennel frond.

See More: Classic Cocktails »


At San Francisco’s Coqueta restaurant, this fruity gin and tonic is mixed with a homemade citrus-and-fennel tonic and a spiced apple-celery juice, then garnished with fragrant fennel and star anise.


2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. fresh grapefruit juice
1½ tbsp. fennel seeds
1 tbsp. cinchona bark powder
4 star anise
Zest of 1 lime, plus 2 tbsp. juice
Zest of ½ orange
2½ cups sugar
2 tbsp. citric acid
⅛ tsp. sea salt

2 tsp. fennel seeds
½ chile de árbol, stemmed
1 tbsp. sea salt
¼ Granny Smith apple, cored
¼ stalk celery
Lemon wedge
2 oz. gin
1 oz. anise tonic (see above)
1 oz. club soda
Fennel frond and star anise, for garnish

1. Make the ice and tonic: Stir lemon juice and ½ cup water in a bowl; pour into ice cube tray and freeze. Simmer grapefruit juice, fennel seeds, cinchona bark powder, star anise, lime zest and juice, orange zest, and 4 cups water in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat until slightly reduced, about 45 minutes. Add sugar, citric acid, and salt; cook until sugar is dissolved, 1–2 minutes. Strain tonic; chill.

2. Make cocktail: In a spice grinder, grind fennel seeds and chile into a powder; transfer to plate and stir in salt. Purée apple and celery in a food processor into a pulp. Press over a sieve into a cocktail shaker to extract juice. Rub lemon wedge on rim of a rocks glass and dip in fennel salt; add lemon ice cubes. Squeeze wedge over shaker; add gin, tonic, and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into glass; garnish with fennel frond and star anise.

Bar Code Tonic

At Bar Code in Bellevue, Washington, the gin and tonic is made in a unique manner: The gin itself is infused with cinchona bark, citrus, and other aromatics. Then, rather than tonic, soda water is added to make the drink. 


1½ cups sugar
1 tbsp. citric acid
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 (750-ml.) bottle dry gin
1 cup 190-proof Everclear
1 tbsp. cinchona bark powder
1 tbsp. grated grapefruit zest
1 tbsp. grated lemon zest
1 tbsp. grated lime zest, plus wedge for garnish
1 tsp. grated orange zest
¼ tsp. whole allspice, crushed
8 fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves, chopped
¼ stalk lemongrass, chopped
4 oz. club soda
1. Make the infused gin: Boil 1 cup sugar, the citric acid, salt, and ½ cup water in a 1-qt. saucepan until sugar is dissolved, 1–2 minutes; chill syrup. Stir remaining ingredients except lime wedge and club soda in a sanitized 1-gal. glass jar; let sit at room temperature for 3 days. Strain tonic into a sanitized 1-qt. jar; stir in reserved syrup.

2. Make cocktail: Stir 2 oz. tonic with club soda in ice-filled collins glass. Squeeze in lime wedge and drop into drink.

The Pretty Tony

With a drink as clear and straightforward as a traditional gin and tonic, the addition of bitters can transform the appearance, flavor, and aroma in delightful ways. Here, 10 dashes of Angostura bitters add bright spice to a version from Wingtip in San Francisco.


1½ oz. navy-strength gin
½ lime
10 dashes Angostura bitters
2 oz. tonic
Pour gin into an ice-filled rocks glass; squeeze in half a lime and drop into drink. Stir in bitters and tonic.