In a simple libation like a gin & tonic, the spirit should really shine. Too often, cloying, crappy tonic obscures the botanical qualities of its partner, rendering the G&T much less refreshing than it should be. Luckily, long-time cocktail writer Camper English – who literally wrote the book on the beverage – has some tips on how to tweak your tonic and ensure your G&T lives up to its full potential.
- Packaging matters: For starters, Camper recommends buying tonic that comes in glass bottles, not because it’s pretty, but because it tends to be the best-carbonated.
- You don’t have to use all tonic: If your tonic water is too sweet for your taste, Camper suggests “either diluting it with a splash of soda water, or adding a dash of bitters to counteract the sweetness. Some people freeze bitters into their ice cubes for a delayed effect.” (I think those people are very clever.)
- Show some restraint with your citrus: Instead of a squeezing lemon or lime juice into the drink, “try it with just the peel – squeeze it peel-side down to express the oils into the drink. Also consider using grapefruit instead of lemon or lime in the drink; the bitterness of some grapefruits pairs really well.”
Once you’ve mastered making a gin & tonic that respects, and doesn’t hide, your gin, you’re all set for a summer of sophisticated sipping. If you want to get your friends involved, you could host a DIY G&T party, but I wouldn’t fault you for keeping all the gin to yourself.