When the first weeks of June hit, it’s time to make a libation adjustment. The bottles of bourbon and scotch go to the back of the cabinet (unless cigars are involved), and I change to drinks that are more refreshing. My favorites are margaritas, daiquiris, and our good old standby, martinis. And there’s always a better than 50:50 chance that a Corona is going to get its lime.
This past weekend my son-in-law, Mitch, handed me a gin and tonic with a dash of bitters. I thought it was delicious. I had forgotten how good they tasted, so I started to research gin and tonics. The most intriguing version was called a Spanish gin & tonic. According to TripSavvy, “the Dutch may have invented the gin, the British added the tonic, but it was the Spanish who perfected the garnish and elevated the drink to the level of art. Nowhere in the world can you find better gin & tonics than in bars in Spain.”
If you want a plain gin and tonic, it’s a very simple recipe: 1 part gin to 2-3 parts tonic. Add this to a glass about 2/3 full of ice. Squeeze a bit of lime juice over the top, stir, and enjoy. Easy Peazy! But if you want a tricked out gin & tonic, such as a Spanish gin & tonic, it can get a bit more complicated.
First off, since you are using aromatics, it makes sense to serve your gin and tonic in either a wine glass or balloon glass. This way, those wonderful smells are channeled to your nose. The next choice is the base liquor. I prefer vodka over gin. I have developed a taste for gin (I used to think it tasted like tree sap). But I still prefer vodka. And as for the tonic, you can use the grocery store variety, or you can go with an upscale tonic such as Fever Tree or Fentiman’s. I have always used Schweppes tonic water or Canada Dry in a pinch, and I’m looking forward to the day when I can try one of the “boutique” tonics.
When it comes to aromatics, you have a whole smorgasbord to choose from: herbs, fruits, vegetables, bitters, and edible flowers. Personally, I think if you have more than four aromatics, you lose your ability to taste the diversity in the drink. My favorites at this moment are rosemary, mint, lime peel, and angostura bitters. Listed below are some choices:
Cucumber Slice, Juniper berries, Mint Spring, Thyme, Raspberry, Sliced fig, Orange Peel, Lavender, Verbena, Star Anise, Vanilla bean, Sliced peach, Lemon Peel, Rosemary Sprig, Saffron, Strawberries, Black Peppercorns, Grapefruit, Lavender Sprigs, and edible flowers such as pansies, nasturtium, etc.
There is a certain order to mixing: Add ice to the glass, so it is 2/3 full (feezing your base liquor as ice cubes is a nice touch). Add the aromatics. Pour in 2 ounces of the base liquor and 5-6 ounces of tonic. Add about 1 Tablespoonful of lime, and stir. And then sit back and enjoy this refreshing drink.
It just doesn’t get any better than this on a hot summer day. The Spanish gin & tonic -two of these and you may want to form your own armada and take on the English. Who knows, maybe this time the overthrow will be successful.