A gin and tonic may seem like the simplest of drinks but playing around with different garnishes and mixers means it’s also ripe for experimentation. Here’s how to get started with the perfect gin and tonic.
Juniper-forward gin and tonic
Juniper-forward gins (including London dry ones) pair well with citrus fruits such as lemon, lime, and grapefruit – or try pink peppercorns and even dried juniper berries for that extra hit of piney flavor. Mix with classic Indian tonic water. These gins are also delicious with dry vermouth in a martini.
Citrus gin and tonic
Try ramping up the citrus notes in these gins by garnishing with lemon, lime or grapefruit, or mixing with lemon tonic water or bitter lemon. Alternatively, citrus often matches well with herbal flavors. Trying adding sprigs of thyme, mint, or rosemary to a G&T with a herbal tonic water, like Fever Tree’s Mediterranean flavor. Gins with stronger orange notes could also match with spices such as star anise and cardamom, or with red vermouth and Campari in a negroni.
Floral gin and tonic
Fruit and veg such as apple, rhubarb, cucumber, strawberries, and raspberries work well in floral gins, as well as flowers – try hibiscus, rose, or lavender. Alternatively, add a touch of freshness with lemon or grapefruit peel, or mint. Don’t opt for a full-flavored tonic water as this could overwhelm a delicate floral gin. Instead, try light tonic water, or elderflower and cucumber-flavored varieties. Or, keep things really subtle by using sparkling water.
Spiced gin and tonic
One for those who like their gins boldly flavored, raid your storecupboard for dried, whole spices to garnish – think black and pink peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, cloves, and star anise. Fresh ginger works well, as does orange and lemon or whole chilies. Drink with Indian or lemon tonic water, or ginger ale.
Herbaceous gin and tonic
Herbaceous gins shine when garnished with herbs such as rosemary, thyme, bay, sage, and basil. Twists of lemon peel also work well. If your gin leans more to the savory, try garnishing with olives, cherry tomatoes or jalapeño peppers, or even samphire for a briny twang. Mix with a herbal or lemony tonic water.
Other gin and tonic pairing ideas
Sloe gins pair well with lemonade or lemon-flavored tonic water, while you could also try matching rhubarb gin with ginger ale. Many flavored gins are also delicious topped up with sparkling wine.