Gin and Tonic is now by far the most popular mixed alcoholic drink. No wonder, because it is ready in no time and there are endless possibilities for variation. With over 3500 different gins and over 350 tonic waters worldwide, the variety simply overwhelms even experienced connoisseurs. If you then play with different fruits, herbs and spices, the range of flavors become almost unlimited.
Here we cut to the chase and tell you all there is to know so that you can make the best Gin and Tonic in plenty of variations.
Read more: what gin is made from
Classic Gin and tonic recipe & preparation
Gin and Tonic Recipe
- 1⅓ oz Gin
- 4 oz Tonic water or 5 oz, depending on taste
- 5 drops Lemon or lime juice depending on taste, herbs, spices, fruits used
- Ice cubes
- Pour the gin into the glass.
- Then open the bottle of tonic water just before use to preserve the carbon dioxide in it. Pour the tonic water gently into the glass so that little carbon dioxide escapes.
- Now slowly fill the glass with ice cubes to the brim. Mix gently with a cocktail stick.
- Finally garnish the edge of the glass with a lemon or lime slice or alternatively put the fruit slice in the glass. Depending on your wishes, the drink can be garnished with herbs, spices or fruits.
The Correct Mixing ratio in Gin TonicAs a long drink, the recipe for gin & tonics is simple. It consists of the spirit gin and a mixer, tonic water, which is poured into the glass containing the gin. Therefore, the right mixing ratio is decisive for the taste. A 1:1 mix has few followers. The alcohol here is too dominant and the bitter notes of tonic don’t really get through. The 1:3 and 1:4 mixtures are common and form a well balanced taste. The aromas of the gin are clearly recognizable, but the alcohol is not overpowering. And the tonic water brings the necessary bitterness and freshness into the glass. You get 1:5 as a mix ratio in most bars. Here the taste of the tonic is more clearly in the foreground.
Serving Temperature and Garnishing a Gin TonicA crucial factor for the perfect gin and tonic is a low drinking temperature and a low melt water discharge. The drinking glass and tonic water should be pre-cooled. Store the glass in the freezer beforehand or cooled with ice cubes. If you serve limes, lemons or oranges as a garnish, cut into slices in advance. Cut any other fruits, spices or herbs, into right sizes if you will use them as garnish.
The right glass for Gin and Tonic
Due to its size, the tumbler is the most suitable for a gin & tonic with a mixing ratio of 1:1 going up to 1:2. The shape of this glass brings out the aroma of the gin.
For gin and tonic mixed in a ratio of 1:3 or 1:4, the highball glass goes very well. According to its capacity of 240 to 340 ml, it is filled to the brim with ice cubes. The glass should not be too thick-walled to prevent the ice cubes from melting quickly.
Bulky red wine or coppa glasses have long been used for the preparation of gin and tonic, especially in Spain. The advantage is that spices, herbs and fruit can be added to the glass without making it appear overloaded. The aroma of gin spreads very well in such bulbous glasses.
There are also some other forms, which we have dealt with in more detail in a separate article.
Garnish for the G&Ts
Gin & tonic is usually garnished before it is served. Traditionally, a lemon or lime slice is used to accentuate the citrus notes in the gin & tonic. A slice of cucumber is just as popular due to its refreshing, earthy aromas. Although it is actually a marketing gimmick from Hendrick’s Gin, cucumber pairs well with a lot of gins. Note that the cucumber aroma is often clear and can overlay aromas of a light gin.
Many gin manufacturers recommend a special garnish for their own gin. There are usually the botanicals which are part of the gin. This ensures that the flavors go well together and the drink has a coherent taste and smell. These recommendations can usually be found on the manufacturer’s website.
Is a Gin & Tonic served with a straw?
The answer is actually quick and easy: a gin & tonic is not served with a straw. This recommendation is independent of the glass in which the drink is served. An exception to this rule can be made if you add other botanicals such as juniper berries, coriander, fresh berries to the gin & tonic in addition to the garnish. In this case, drinking the gin & tonic with a straw makes sense, as it otherwise will be relatively cumbersome to drink.
Where does G&T come from?
Gin and tonic is an English drink that has its origins in the colonial times when the Britishers still ruled India. At that time, tonic water was highly effective against malarial because of its quinine content. The British troops had to drink tonic water regularly, and in a rather intense version that was quite bitter. To make the taste more bearable, the tonic was mixed with gin, which was naturally carried by the soldiers, thanks to its popularity in the early 1900s. Thus, gin and tonic was born.
Between the 1960s and 2000s, vodka replaced gin as people’s favorite. But thanks to masterful marketing strategies of Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater, and such world-famous gin brands, gin sales began to pick pace in the 2000s, especially in England and Spain. Gin and tonic was hot stuff there 15 to 20 years ago.
This trend spilled over at the beginning of the 2010s to the rest of Europe. The fact that you can combine the juniper distillate and tonic at the bar in any way has been common practice in Barcelona for years.
12 Amazing Gin and Tonic Recipes
So that you don’t lose track amidst the Gin & Tonic chaos, we recommend a few ways you can mix gin and tonic. More precisely, we list down 12 variations to get you in the mood, which you may not know yet, but you should definitely try.
And so that you can develop your own variants of the classic in the future, we will also introduce you to the different types of gin and tonic and tell you how they differ in taste.
1. Lemon & Basil Gin Tonic
This not entirely classic gin and tonic is bursting with freshness. Crushed fresh basil meets fragrant essential oils of lemon zest. For a lovely touch, add an extra dash of Lillet to the glass. Not just a refreshing drink in summer! To the recipe
2. Gin and tonic with cinnamon and orange
With this gin and tonic combo, you can bring that holiday feeling back home. A sweetened Old Tom Gin comes into the glass with mild tonic water, flamed cinnamon sticks and orange zest. This variation is very common in the Spanish islands because it is light, sweet and fresh. To the recipe
3. Gin and tonic with apples and thyme
Would you like a different gin and tonic? Then you are spot on with this recipe. Crunchy sour Granny Smith apples are muddled with lemon thyme leaves and infused with gin and tonic. This variant cannot be beaten in terms of freshness. The aromas of thyme and green apples go well with a juniper-heavy London Dry Gin. Mix with fruity and mild tonic water. This quick drink will be a favorite for your next house party. To the recipe
4. Gin and tonic with Cucumber and Szechuan pepper
Hendrick’s Gin, a gin and tonic with cucumber has become an integral part of the bars. And rightly so, because the cucumber in the glass gives your drink an unexpected freshness and complements Hendrick’s spectacularly. But other gins that focus on botanicals such as coriander or citrus notes also go perfectly with this simple recipe. An extra kick comes from the Chinese Szechuan pepper, which brings a slight sharpness and additional allspice and anise notes into the glass. To the recipe
5. Gin and tonic with dried pear and fresh mint
A gin and tonic that takes you to Morocco! Sweet dried pears and the scent of fresh mint that spreads throughout the room immediately give you the feeling of sitting in a small bar far from the maddening crowds in Casablanca. All that’s missing is a hookah and a good book to end the evening. For a more intense aroma, you can also muddle pear and mint and pour on gin & tonic. View recipe
6. Gin and tonic with Mediterranean tonic water and rosemary
This combination is now one of the “Gin & Tonic Classics”. The highlights here are the Mediterranean, herbal aromas, which are in the foreground in some dry gins and are absorbed and supported by the fresh rosemary and the essential oils of the lemon zest. The “Mediterranean Tonic Water” is the icing on the cake for this creation, as fresh herbs are the main focus here. See the recipe
7. Gin and tonic with grapefruit and tarragon
Do you know what an incredibly good mix is? Its grapefruit and tarragon. And if this combination is added in a balanced gin & tonic, nothing can beat it. The tart herbaceous tarragon with its anise aromas gives your drink a fantastic contrast. To the recipe
8. Gin and tonic with dried orange and rosemary
The aroma is a top priority for this refreshing gin & tonic. Fresh rosemary and the essential oils of the orange zest harmonize very well with a high-quality dry gin, with the juniper notes in the background. You can either add dried organic orange wheels to the drink or enjoy the whole orange as a fruity snack with a long drink. To the recipe
9. Gin and tonic with Cherryblossom Tonic Water
This pink gin & tonic doesn’t just look good. It gets its characteristic color from the sweet, fruity Cherryblossom Tonic Water. This mixer with “cherry blossoms” tastes refreshingly different and gives every drink a very special note. To the recipe
10. Gin and tonic with yuzu juice and arabica beans
This gin & tonic variation is as crazy as the streets in Tokyo. The focus here is on the Japanese citrus fruit “Yuzu”, a Japanese citrus fruit. It tastes like a mixture of lime, lemon, and grapefruit. As a funky combination, you grate roasted Arabica coffee beans over the drink. It sounds strange but it is really delicious! To the recipe
11. Gin and tonic with strawberries and balsamic float
Give your gin & tonic a kick and prepare it with fresh strawberries, fragrant basil and fresh ginger. The highlight is a quickly cooked balsamic syrup, which you add as a “float” over your drink. Fresh, fruity, sweet, bitter and bitter combined in one drink. To the recipe
12. Gin and tonic syrup
A slightly different type of gin & tonic preparation is a tonic syrup. Once boiled down, it replaces the purchased tonic water. You can take your aromatic preferences into account during production and you do not need to buy the tonic water anymore. To mix, simply pour a shot of this fantastic syrup on top with gin and sparkling water in the glass. To the recipe
The best gin and tonic combinations
At wine-liquor.store we have already tasted various gins and tonics, combined them with each other and tested them with different botanicals. Now, we can not say whether there is such a G&T that is the best combination for you. What we can say is that there is something for everyone in our extensive selection – from extremely classic juniper-heavy to the more fruity-sweet New Western Dry Gin. You actually wanted to learn more about the gin and tonic and its history? No problem: just scroll down a bit, among our favorite combinations there is detailed information about the history, glasses, and trimmings.
Gin Mare and Fever Tree Mediterranean Water
The fantastic Gin Mare is anything but an insider tip, but there is a reason for it. This Mediterranean gin with notes of olives, basil, rosemary and various other herbs can be combined with herbs like no other. It makes a very special G&T.
Hoos London Gin and Gentleman’s Tonic
A very versatile gin that works well in many variations and that can hold its own. The combination of juniper and pepper that opens here screams out together with Gentleman’s Tonic. Best garnish: apple slices.
B my Gin and Aqua Monaco Extra Dry
A fruity-floral but aromatically mild gin, which nevertheless one that needs a strong and dry opponent. It is therefore important to mix in a ratio of 1: 1, so as not to drown the gin. Best garnish: lemon zest.
Professor Cornelius Ableforth’s Bathtub Gin and Fever Tree Mediterranean
A very junipery gin with aromas of spruce needles and oranges. The aromas are comparatively intense but still not intrusive, which is why we decided to use a mild tonic water. Best garnish: lemon zest.
Granite Bavarian Gin and Gentleman’s Tonic
The Granite gin tastes quaintly herbaceous and above all very junipery. In combination with the fresh-hot tonic, which tastes strikingly of pepper, the result is an insanely spicy and exciting combination. Best garnish: lemon zest.
Nobody’s Dry Gin and Fever Tree Mediterranean
A very, very woody gin with strong Mediterranean bonds. For many, the sandalwood note in combination with the herbs is too blatant, but if you like it, you almost prefer to drink it pure. The combination with an equally Mediterranean tonic works very well. Best garnish: rosemary sprig.
Juniper Jack and Juniper Jack Navy Strength with Thomas Henry Tonic Water
Juniper Jack is perhaps the most juniper-heavy gin on the market, the Navy Strength variant goes one better. Both versions are a lot of fun in a classic, not too dry gin and tonic. The peppery gentleman’s tonic also works well. Best garnish: lemon zest.
Applause Stuttgart Dry Gin with Indi & Co Botanical Tonic Water
The main botanical here is cinnamon and with the special tonic you get a very special, very oriental, but at the same time fruity-fresh drink. Probably not everyone will like it, but it has what it takes to be a favorite G&T. Best garnish: rosemary sprig and apple slice.
Rutte Celery Gin and Bermondey Tonic Water
At first glance, the Dutch gin with the earthy, light celery note and the crisp, strong, bitter tonic do not seem to match, but they complement each other formidably. Not a gin and tonic for beginners, but a definite hit for friends of the classics who appreciate smartly thought-through originals.
Which tonic goes with which gin?
The selection of tonics is very large. Of course, these go differently with the different flavors of gin.
1. Dry Tonic Water
Dry and light tonic waters have delicate bitter notes. The freshness comes from the fizz in them. These tonics work well with aromatic and complex gins where the gin aroma is supposed to dominate the G&T.
2. Spicy Tonic Water
Tonic water with a spicy note tastes moderately bitter and is not very citrusy. It supports the aroma of spicy and herbal gins. In addition, it give the gin enough space to develop instead of overlaying the aroma with its own taste.
3. Floral tones
The floral, fruity tonic water with a low bitter content gives the gin and tonic a floral shade and mixes wonderfully with the botanicals of floral gins.
4. Fruity tonics
Fruity tonic waters, on the other hand, are often very sweet and bring a very fruity note. These tonics dominate the taste in every gin and tonic and therefore have to be mixed with correspondingly juniper dominant gins, so that the gin flavors do not get subdued.
5. Classic / Indian Tonic Water
Classic tonic water contains a large amount of quinine and sugar and is therefore often very sweet and has a strong lemony taste. In terms of taste, they are very dominant, which is why gins with a clear juniper note are primarily suited as mixing partners.
More Bitter Cocktail Recipes