Today is National Gin & Tonic Day, and though we probably have climate change to blame for it not falling on a sunnier, warmer one, at least we now have an excuse for happy hour ASAP.
The cocktail has a medical discovery back in the 1700s to thank for its origin — quinine, which is a bitter, crystalline compound found in tonic water — works as a kinda-sorta effective anti-malarial. When that reveal was made to British soldiers, who were staking down flags in every corner of the world (particularly in a few literally hot malaria spots), worked out that the bitter taste of quinine was overcome with a slug of gin, and the G&T came to be.
Today’s tonic water contains far less quinine, and a bit more sugar, but it still is the ideal companion to the liquor derived from juniper berries and enjoyed since the Middle Ages.
So whether you chose to make love to your tonic and gin, a la “Piano Man,” sip one with a pal or drown the sorrows of the day with a few fancy takes on the classic cocktail at home, we’ve got you covered with four unique spins on the drink who’s name maybe does say it all, but can still be improved with a little pomp and circumstance. Tally ho.
Tot & Tonic
1.5 oz Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin
Method: Add Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin to Collins glass and fill with ice. Top with chilled tonic water. Garnish with a lime wedge and serve with a straw.
Glass: Collins glass
Garnish: Lime wedge
Booze: Made by New York Distilling Company, and clocking in at 57% ABV, sip up some Brooklyn with this refreshing, straight-up G&T. “Navy Strength”? Try Navy SEAL strength after two.
Portobello Road Gin and Tonic
2 oz of Portobello Road Gin
Fill with Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water
Method: Build in glass
Garnish: Grapefruit twist, basil leaf, juniper berries and coriander seed from a pepper grinder.
Ice: Lots of cubes
Booze: This London Dry Gin lends itself to strong citrus, hence the grapefruit that brings it all together and leaves it standing in a different league from your typical well-G&T-with-a-sad-lime-wedge from your local dive bar.
Four Pillars Gin and Tonic
1.5 oz Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin
3 oz of tonic water
Method: Add ice and gin to a short glass, top with tonic water, garnish with citrus.
Garnish: Different gins work best with different garnishes – try fresh orange with Rare Dry, kaffir lime leaf and fresh ginger with Navy Strength Gin, and tangelo with Bloody Shiraz Gin.
Booze: We went Down Under for this classic gin, hence our decision to go for Australasian garnishes.
Hot Gin & Tonic
1 1/2 oz Brooklyn Gin
1/4 oz TomR’s Tonic syrup
1/2 oz Salers Aperitif
1/2 oz Amaretto Disaronna
Lemon wedge with clove and cinnamon
Method: Combine Brooklyn Gin, TomR’s Tonic syrup in a mug. Stir well and top with boiling water. Garnish with a Lemon wedge, clove and cinnamon.
Glass: Glass Mug
Garnish: Lemon wedge, clove and cinnamon
Booze: Your drinking buds may balk at the thought of a hot gin drink, but give it a chance. Especially as Mother Nature isn’t serving up a summery spring just yet.