The Perfect Tonic: The Gin Drinker's Unsung Art
By: Cocktail Co
Gin and tonic have been a favourite since colonial times. There's something so refreshing and satisfying about a good gin and tonic, and no matter how many flavours have arrived in the meantime, it's great to return to.
There are many amazing reasons to drink gin and tonic but there's something that you need to know before you make your next one.
You Can Spend As Much As You Want On The Gin
Gin is popular worldwide. As with any popular spirit, you can find cheap mass-market produced variants and other much more expensive bespoke variants.
The most expensive gin known to be available to buy is called Watenshi and it's made by Cambridge Distillery (the same one that brought us the first gin made with ants). A bottle of Watenshi (if you can get it) will set you back a cool $3,500 and the name means "Japanese Angel". That's over $100 a for a single measure!
Most people have caught on to this and if you're not on a tight budget, the odds are pretty good that you're already shelling out for a better quality of gin.
Brands like Bombay Sapphire and Tanqueray have cemented themselves in a discerning drinking public's hearts and for good reason. Locally, brands like Four Pillars and Adelaide Hills play on the local botanicals they use to convince drinkers to pay upwards of $70 a bottle. Better ingredients, taste better.
Yet Far Too Many People Stint On The Tonic
It seems, however, that many people haven't realized that there's another element to drinking gin: the tonic water itself.
It's all well and good to spend $100 on your gin but if you're going to do that – you ought to be using the best tonic water than you can find too.
You see, tonics are not all created equally either. A cheap tonic can kill the taste and oomph that a good gin provides. In fact, a low-quality tonic can even ruin the experience of drinking an expensive gin!
Distillers work hard to create gins with distinct "mouth feel". That is, the flavour of the spirit is a considered action. It's not just a random action.
Premium tonics are developed in a similar fashion. The ideal gin and tonic isn't a great gin and some store brand tonic water. It's a great gin and a great tonic.
You're going to need to experiment a little when it comes to this.
Different gins pair with different tonics to get the best effect.
The Make Up Of Gin
To be considered "gin" a spirit needs to have a "predominant juniper flavour" but that's the only condition, distillers are free to add any botanical they feel like to the mix and there's no set amount of juniper.
This means each gin and tonic needs a similar unique approach. Many people, for example, have discovered that you don't put a slice of lemon in a Hendricks' Gin and Tonic because it pairs better with cucumber.
If you're drinking gin and tonic in a bar; you can always ask the bartender what tonic pairing, they recommend with the gin.
If you're drinking at home. The best approach is to get your favourite gin and say a dozen different tonics. Then experiment until you find the best pairing; ideally, don't try and find that pairing in a single sitting. Drinking alcohol responsibly is always the best approach, particularly on a work night.
Gin and tonic is one of life's little pleasures and you can enhance that pleasure by making sure you have the right tonic to go with your gin. You won't believe the difference until you try it. Then, you'll never go back.