I love Gin and Tonics. I love the countless variations you can create and how cool and refreshing they are for summer. As summer continues to heat up, try out a couple and see what you like.
If you are up for an amazing experience, head out to New Heights and The Gin Joint in Woodley Park, DC. Nicole is the creator of Chronic Tonic and the genius behind this speakeasy style bar. Order whatever you like from the menu, but the real fun is letting her play around and customize a cocktail based on her knowledge of dozens of gins, other spirits, and flavor combinations.
A classic Gin and Tonic is just that. Gin….and Tonic. When you are making such a simple cocktail, quality ingredients are required. This is not the time to buy the discount gin (unless you like it, then enjoy) and most commercial tonics are glorified sugar water.
First – the Gin. Gin’s iconic Christmas-tree flavor comes from juniper berries. There are tons of quality gins that I’ve been lucky enough to try (most at The Gin Joint) so find something you like. Bombay Sapphire is a wonderful choice and general crowd pleaser. Tanqueray is another great option but has a harsher Juniper flavor that turns some people off. Lately, I have been drinking Hendrick’s. It has a lovely softness and is infused with cucumber and rose.
Next – the Tonic. If you are stuck with no selection, Schweppes is a safe choice. I like smaller batch products such as Q Tonic.
Classic Gin and Tonic
Fill a highball glass with ice
Pour over 2 oz Gin
Top with 3-4 oz Tonic Water
The traditional garnish is lime, but you can play around with other citruses like lemon or grapefruit
Herbs can also be used. Try mint or rosemary
Cucumber slices and berries work well.
Play with infused tonic waters or add a dash or two of bitters.
My new favorite cocktail is a twist on the classic French 75, which is a formal spin on a Gin and Tonic with Champagne and lemon.
Shake together 1 oz Hendrick’s Gin and ½ oz St. Germain with ice.
Strain and pour into a Flute
Add a squeeze of lemon juice and lavender bitters
Top with 3-4 oz Champagne or dry sparkling white wine
Garnish with a lemon twist
St Germain is an elderflower liqueur that you should definitely play around with. It pairs well with most spirits and adds a beautiful floral sweetness to everything from sangria to bourbon.