Yesterday I posted that Vinotology takes an open approach to accepting people of other faiths, and today I am saying that we also have an open mouth policy when it comes to other beverages. After all, man does not live by wine alone. For example, I often have been known to indulge in a nice craft beer. I also have an affinity for certain spirits and cocktails. One of my favorites is about to enter the season when it most thrives, and the drink is the Gin and Tonic.
The history of the Gin and Tonic goes back to the days when it was used by the British to combat malaria (those crafty Brits know the right way to fight a disease.) The quinine that was in the tonic water was useful in fighting the disease, and the Gin made the quinine a little more palatable. Lucky for the British, they just happened to have been accumulating limes at the time, so throw in a little lime and you have yourself a great drink. Oh yeah, in case you have scurvy, limes also help out on that front. As I’m writing this, all I can think is, “I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more Gin and Tonic.”
Anyway, the G&T is a really simple drink, but it seems to be next to impossible to get a good one at a bar. A big part of this is the quality of the ingredients, which are vital to a good Gin and Tonic. First you have the gin, which is probably the easiest part to find at a bar. There are several nice gins that are pretty widely available, including Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater, or Tanqueray. I have recently been on a bit of a Hendricks kick, a gin that not only has the juniper infusion, but also includes rose and cucumber (try it with a cucumber garnish instead of lime.) After the gin has been selected, that’s where things can get tricky. A lot of bars will just use the soda water that comes from a dispenser, and a big component of a good Gin and Tonic is a real tonic water. The quinine (which is in much lower quantity in American gins than it was for the original British) really ads a bitter quality that is needed to balance the drink. After the gin and the tonic, the next factor is the lime. Fresh limes are another key, and sometimes that’s a problem. Sometimes the limes at the bar might not be as fresh as desired, and then there is the possibility of the dreaded juice that comes from the lime shaped bottle being thrown in there. Bleh.
So now, how to make a Gin and Tonic. Start by filling a glass (highball, collins, or rocks glasses would all work) with ice. Make sure and fill to the top of the glass with ice. Then slowly pour 2 ounces of your selected gin over the ice. You want to give the gin a chance to cool before you add the tonic. Next you want to pour about 4 ounces of tonic water slowly so that it mixes with the gin. Gently stir the drink and add lime as desired. See, nothing to it. The main thing is to use the best ingredients that you have available to you.
So this Summer, as you are enjoying your Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc, try mixing in (to the Summer, not the wine) a nice Gin and Tonic here and there. Drink up!