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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The perfect Gin and Tonic

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The sound I associate most with warm summer evenings is the tinkle of ice in the perfect, refreshing, gin and tonic. Now, the gin and tonic may seem rather straight forward when compared to it’s more complicated, flashier cocktail cousins. However there is an art to the classic gin and tonic. It’s the little black dress of the cocktail world, simple but classic. Let’s explore this fantastic drink.

First off you need a good quality gin. When making cocktails it is tempting to go for a value gin as its flavour will be masked by all the other ingredients. Not so with the gin and tonic, it shows off your quality gin to its best advantage and demonstrates it’s creator’s knowledge of a good gin. Then there is the tonic, again we need the good stuff, no scrimping here either. Avoid the diet/ slimline tonics, lets live a little, we want the perfect gin and tonic. Tonic is best bought in single serving cans. If you buy a large bottle of tonic then by the end of the evening it, your gin and tonics, and your party will be flat.

Now we start to explore more deeply the art of the “G and T”. Cool and chilled are the bywords here. Chill the gin overnight and make sure the tonic is also icy cool. Get plenty lemons and limes and chill them overnight also. Make sure that you will have a plentiful supply of ice.

A massively important component of the perfect G and T is the glass that you are going to serve it in. Please do not even think about using anything plastic. You are going to need a good sized tumbler; we need to get plenty of ice in there, as well as the lemon and lime slices. Nothing beats quality crystal glasses and it’s the only way to achieve the tinkling sound of ice against glass that I find so evocative of summer. Hey, it’s the perfect gin and tonic we are after here. Make sure that the glasses are nice and cool, put them in the refrigerator an hour or two before your party.

Now with the ground work done we can relax and look forward to treating our guests to the perfect G and T. Its time to pour.

Because we chilled the glasses we don’t need to put the ice in first. This is important, if you put the ice in first it is difficult to judge how much gin you have put in and we need consistency here. Take note of how much gin you put in for future reference then add plenty ice, top up with tonic and pop in slices of lime and lemon. I suggest as a rough guide one part gin to seven parts tonic but you know your own palate. Taste your first G and T and adjust accordingly. I usually get someone else to taste it as well. Remember it is refreshing and light we are after here, not, that was fantastic but my head has just exploded.

To really show off your perfect G and T invest in some light up ice cubes and put a couple of these into each glass along with plenty of regular ice. Blue lights work the best in my opinion and give a really classy effect which is just what this splendid drink deserves. This is great for a night time party and will help you keep track of guests who may have become “lost” in the dark.


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  2. A wise old bartender told me to rub a slice of lime round the rim of the glass to make a perfect G&T.
    I think this drink would be much improved by the omission of the (gaudy) glow in the dark plast-ice cubes and the inclusion of a healthy glug of Pimms.