With only two ingredients to its very literal name, the gin and tonic is a straightforward classic. At least, it’s supposed to be. The trouble with cocktails with minimal components is that it requires skill and knowledge to make those flavours harmonise, because there won’t be additional ingredients to help disguise any discordant notes. Add to that the vast array of gins and tonics available on the market and you may find yourself simply reaching for the first things you see on the shelf.
But don’t be afraid to experiment. Daniel Anthony, bartender at The Gin Parlour, encourages us to follow our palates and be bold.
“You can never be too artistic. Add a few dashes of Tabasco if you like it spicy, or soak lavender and other edible flowers in your gin for a hint of floral fragrance,” he shares.
It’s about discovering
your ideal gin and tonic, so enjoy the process that will
lead you to your
Still, there are certain guidelines to follow if you’re aiming for maximum flavour while maintaining balance. Here are a few things to take note of:
Accentuate either the gin or the tonic, not both
As a general rule, it’s a good idea to pair a flavourful gin with a basic tonic, and vice versa. Powerful gins with an abundance of botanicals don’t need to be overwhelmed by an equally multi-dimensional tonic. “If the tonic holds a complex flavour, such as an aromatic spice, elderflower or if you’re using something like Three Cents Aegean Tonic Water, use a dry or juniper-forward gin so that the flavours intermingle harmoniously,” offers Anthony.
Understand your tonic
Tonics play a supporting role so pick the ones that are light to moderate in terms of flavour projection. “Every tonic has its purpose, but they are essentially aromatic, bittersweet and effervescent,” says Andrew Pang, brand ambassador at Beam Suntory SEA. Effervescence is particularly good at bringing out the bitter botanicals of gin, if that’s what you’re going for.
The golden ratio
The standard ratio for a gin and tonic is one part gin to three parts tonic water, but this isn’t a rule that’s set in stone. Pang adds, “If the intention is to drink it like a highball — that is, to be as easy and refreshing as beer — then you can use a 1:4 ratio. Otherwise, a 1:3 ratio is very balanced.”
Finish with a flourish
Garnishes aren’t just there to add visual interest; they can elevate the overall drinking experience through fragrance and flavour. Juniper-forward gins will benefit from traditional garnishes like limes and lemons, as their acidity will help cut through the berry’s signature bitterness, while ginger will be a gentler option for gins with more delicate or floral notes. Feel free to experiment with spices and herbs as well.
Recipe: The Ultimate Gin and Tonic
If you still don’t know where to start, Daniel Anthony’s “ultimate favourite combination” is Sorgin — a French gin that includes a Sauvignon Blanc distillate — paired with Indian tonic water and garnished with fresh rosemary and lemon. For something a little more classic, try Andrew Pang’s go-to recipe:
- 30ml Roku Gin, chilled
- 120ml London Essence Tonic Water
- Slice of ginger
- Pour 1 part gin (30 or 45ml) into a glass.
- Add ice.
- Add 4 parts tonic water (120 or 180ml) slowly, and with the glass tilted so as to retain as much carbonation as possible.
- Stir only once, to avoid agitating the carbonation.
- Garnish with 6 matchstick slices of ginger.
The world of artisanal gins is as varied as it is delicious. Discover three different gins with DayAway’s Ginspiration experience (from $98), available every Monday and Wednesday from 5-7PM in The Fullerton Bay Hotel’s Gin Parlour. The package includes a 3-course meal in La Brasserie, Fever Tree Tonic and alcoholic beverage discounts.