With the last couple of heat waves, I’ve resigned myself to drinking lighter and more savory drinks for the foreseeable future. With that said, I’ve done a few mixology sessions in private homes recently and have found that the classic Gin and Tonic has made a comeback, and in a big way!
You see that Gin is a perennial favorite when the temperature ekes its way past ninety degrees. The refreshing element of the botanicals stimulate the taste buds and the crisp aromatics of the tonic water bring these liquids to a much higher level. Of course, your hot weather gin and tonic will be ruined if you are still using the old standby- the drink gun to supply the tonic water. Unless you’re pouring craft-style soda from your drink gun you’d better take your Gin and Tonic off your cocktail menu. Why?
Because your tonic water is not something that I want to praise. Far from. If it’s made from high fructose corn syrup you aren’t helping with the good health of your guests. It’s not great stuff, packed with artificial ingredients and those I couldn’t even spell if I wanted to.
So, what is a bar or restaurant to do? Stop serving Gin and Tonics altogether?
NO, you should make this Summer relaxer, the G&T cocktail- the shining star of your bar program. The one drink that screams Summer in a Glass. Try these three fabulous Gins available in the New York, NJ and CT areas with these three different CANE SUGAR Tonic waters. One of which is a tonic syrup!
May I suggest starting with Barr Hill Gin from ever-verdant Vermont? This gin is unlike any other on the market because it is made with raw honey and locally grown grain. There is a subtle sweetness in Barr Hill that doesn’t go unnoticed against the bitter herbs inherent in the tonic water.
In this case, I’m leading with one of my perennial tonic water favorites. The one from Q-Drinks. They make a delicious tonic water with all natural ingredients- including the most important one, the cane sugar!
Q-Tonic is crisp, aromatic and highly refreshing. There are notes of Peruvian quinine, agave syrup and a touch of citrus making for a flavor packed mouthful of dry and bitter. Each element cuts the inherent sweetness of the raw honey gin and truly raises the bar.
A Vermont Styled- Gin and Tonic
- 2 oz. Barr Hill Gin
- 6 oz. Q-Tonic Water
- Fresh ice (not smelling like garlic or anything like old eggs)
- Add the fresh ice to a Collins glass
- Top with the Q-Tonic water
- POUR OVER the Barr Hill Gin- yes. over the tonic water
- Squeeze a quarter of fresh lime juice over the top
- Garnish with a fresh wedge of lime
The next gin that I chose is more London Dry style in demeanor. It starts dry and finishes dry. (just like a stiff upper lip) It’s named Martin Miller’s Gin and it is made with water from Iceland, perhaps the purest and softest water in the world. I’m a huge fan of their Pot Still gin for the rich depth of flavor. I believe that it is the classic combination of crisp to aromatic to bodacious. My choice of tonic water for Martin Miller’s namesake gin would be the Fever Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water. This very European styled fizzy liquid speaks a different language than the one that most off the shelf tonic waters can never do. It is not cloying, nor overly rich. Fever Tree is dry on the finish and it stands up to the potent, pot-still gin with alacrity.
Continental Gin and Tonic
- 3 oz. Martin Miller’s Pot Stilled Gin
- 6 oz. Fever Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water
- Fresh Ice
- Fresh Lime Juice
- Lime wedge
- Angostura Bitters
- Add the ice to a Collins glass
- Add the Martin Miller’s Gin
- Top with the Fever Tree Tonic Water
- Add 1 tablespoon of Fresh Lime Juice
- Add 3-5 drops of the Angostura Bitters
- Garnish with a freshly cut lime wedge
The final gin that I chose for this cocktail primer is probably the most classic in the purely Botanical format. Hendricks’s Gin is my choice for the final slurp. This gin is bursting with flavors of cucumber and roses. Quite remarkable really.
The tonic water is no less rambunctious either because I picked one made right here in New Jersey named TomR’s Tonic. Their handmade product is perfectly geared to the explosive aromatics of Hendricks’s gin because you can adjust the bitterness of the final drink just by adding more- or less of this amazing tonic syrup. I love the 1,2,3, method described on their website.
Tomr’s Classic Tonic and Gin
- 1 oz. Tomr’s Tonic Syrup
- 2 oz. Hendricks’s Gin
- 3 oz. Seltzer Water
- My addition of a pinch of sea salt
- Add ice to a Collins Glass
- Top with the Tomr’s Tonic Syrup
- Add the Hendricks’s Gin over the syrup
- Top with the Seltzer Water
- Add a pinch of sea salt