Way back when, long before I decided to make cocktails one of my drinks of choice, I tried making a martini. Let's just say 21-year-old didn't have the knowledge I have now. That "martini" included the wrong kind of vermouth, and Tanqueray were a total miss. My palate wasn't used to the floral notes or hints of juniper ... and well the vermouth didn't help either.
Needless to say, I stayed away from gin for several long years. That eventually changed under expert hands, usually in a French 75 or Tom Collins, or a great gin and tonic.
Though it couldn't be a more simple — G&Ts are 1, 2 or 3 parts gin to 3 parts tonic based on your taste preference, ice and lime — the latter has turned into my drink of choice for hot days and nights.
The kind of gin and whatever tonic you choose to go with are key, though. During this year's San Antonio Cocktail Conference I had a chance to sample new tonic water out of U.K.'s Fever-Tree, which expanded their line of boutique tonic water and ginger beer recently to include Mediterranean tonic water and elderflower tonic water along with flagship Indian water.
We celebrated National Gin Day this past weekend by making G&Ts, while ditching Canada Dry and Schweppes for Fever-Tree
. We tried out a few recipes in office using Cemetery Gin
, a gifted brand only found in Nevada. My bad. Use Ford's Gin
or Genius Gin
out of Austin, or my personal fave Hendrick's
to celebrate half of Snoop Dogg's favorite drink.
- When using a particularly floral and fragrant gin (the Cemetery includes lavender and pine nuts), stick with the original Indian Fever-Tree ($4.99 at most liquor stores). The quinine pairs with the flowery notes and helps keep the drink balanced but hella refreshing.
- If you're using Bombay Sapphire, our taste team liked the Mediterranean iteration for added sweetness. Though we weren't able to find the elderflower variety in stores, it'd be interesting to see how that would play into a standard gin. Throw in a dash or two of Angostura just for kicks.
- For our wildcard drink, we tossed in a scoop of basil, blueberry, lime ice cream from Lick Honest Ice Creams, with Mediterranean tonic water and Boodle's Gin over ice. Learn from our mistake of trying to keep this a G&T and blend this concoction up. It's a bit of a throwback to baby shower punch of yesteryear and hides away the gin if you're so inclined.