The elaboration of the gin and tonic has become, for some time, an art. Gin, due to its bitter and slightly dry taste, combines very well with spices and fruits of all kinds. By adding these botanicals to the mix, their flavors and aromas intermingle, enhancing all of the gin’s innate botanical nuances. In this way, it is possible to create hundreds of combinations, which turn the gin and tonic into a personal drink with infinite possibilities.
The gin and tonic has become the fashionable cocktail, although a few years ago gin was a “grandparents” drink, since due to its bitter and strong taste, young people preferred other more pleasant combinations for the palate, such as the famous “vodka”. with lemon” or “whisky with cola”.
However, from the bars of the best clubs, gin was claimed as an ingredient and gin and tonic as the star cocktail. This new fashion was a revolution in the hotel industry, which saw in the gin and tonic, a combination with a neutral and slightly bitter taste, a field full of possibilities for experimentation.
Great bartenders and chefs from all over the world began to try mixing spices, creating tonics with flavors and even distilling new gins, with exotic and different aromatic and botanical bases. The result was the possibility of creating cocktails of all possible colors, flavors and aromas.
All this is possible thanks to the spices and botanical ingredients with which the gin and tonics are accompanied. These ingredients must be used with care, since it is not about turning the gin and tonic into a salad, but about finding a balance between the flavor of the gin and that of the spices.
But be careful, since the ingredients to be mixed always depend on the chosen gin, for example, a very dry gin will benefit from a touch of lemon, while a fresher or botanical one will benefit from pepper or cardamom.
the classic ingredients
Lemon or citrus rind
Citrus has always been the inseparable companion of gin and tonic. We have all seen our parents and grandparents drink the typical gin and tonic with a slice of lemon. The best gin to mix with citrus is dry or any type of London Dry Gin, as they benefit from citrus touches. Although it is traditionally accompanied by a slice, peel or a twist of lemon, it can also be combined with grapefruit or orange.
Juniper berries are the main ingredient in gin. These deep purple berries have natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making gin a natural and healthy drink, provided it is drunk in moderation.
These berries have a sweet, slightly citrusy flavor with a final bitter touch, and are a perfect accompaniment to traditional gins, Dry Gin and also aromatic ones. Simply crush them a bit with your hand before inserting them and let their juices mix with the gin and tonic.
Cardamom goes very well with less dry and more aromatic gins. It is a plant with digestive properties and a citrus aroma. It offers a very intense olfactory touch, which enhances all the aromas of the gin, thus offering a very pleasant balsamic experience.
The hibiscus flower is also a common ingredient among gin and tonic lovers. It has a very mild flavor, almost like an infusion. The dried leaves must infuse for about 5 minutes with the alcohol to release the natural oils and to dye the liquid red. Hibiscus flower goes well with almost any gin on the market, as long as it is not mixed with citrus.
Perfect spices for your gin and tonic
Only gins with a spicy base, especially those that have cinnamon itself among its ingredients, go well with this sweet and slightly spicy species. In this case, the cinnamon must be added together with the ice, before adding any other ingredient.
Allspice is usually added to the gin and tonic, which has a very spicy and slightly sweet flavor, black pepper, more spicy and minty, or pink pepper, which is usually between sweet and spicy. Whole or slightly crushed grains are usually added and go very well with very dry gins, such as London Dry Gin. Although pink pepper also goes well with aromatic gins or gins based on floral ingredients.
Vanilla is a spice that is used as a flavoring, since it has a very characteristic and strong smell. Its flavor is sweet and, sometimes, it can remind you of chocolate. In cocktails, vanilla is used in essence or in the form and should only be combined with very dry gins, since the sweet taste can be cloying if combined with aromatic or floral gins. For this same reason, it is a good companion to other ingredients such as citrus.
Coriander is also often present in the base botanical blends of most gins. It is a spice with a slightly sweet flavor, with a citrus aroma reminiscent of lemon. In cocktails, the coriander is used in grain and is crushed a little by hand to release the essential oils. Coriander goes very well with most gins, whether dry or aromatic.
This Chinese spice is often used as a decorative element, although it actually has many digestive properties. With dry gins, it provides that peculiar anise flavor, which helps to highlight the rest of the flavors of the drink.
Fruits that mix well
The blueberries will not only add flavor to the gin and tonic, but will also color the drink red. It is very important to add them as they are, without breaking or crushing them, since doing so will turn the gin and tonic into juice. They go well with any type of gin, as long as it does not have blueberry as a basic ingredient.
More than a fruit, it is a root, but the important thing is that it provides a characteristic aniseed and sweet flavor. It is slightly balsamic, which enhances the flavor of the tonic, especially in contrast to its particular bitterness. It should be crushed a little and added to the ice, so that when you pour the gin and tonic, they absorb their flavour. It pairs wonderfully with strong, hard-flavored gins.