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Gin and Tonic Recipe with Portuguese Gin

The G&T is a global phenomenon that can’t be stopped. Follow our easy Gin and Tonic Recipe with Portuguese gin and tonic water plus a couple surprises.

Gin and Tonic Birds Eye View

Previously associated with genteel ladies who lunch at hoity-toity country clubs, the Gin and Tonic is a drink imbibed by cocktail enthusiasts of all ages. Both trendy and classic, this gin cocktail is more popular than ever.

Let’s face it, the G&T is a first-ballot member, if such a thing exists, of the cocktail hall of fame. It’s on the mighty Mount Rushmore for cocktails along with the Manhattan and the Martini.

Gin and Tonic by Blue and Yellow Tiles
We drank this Gin and Tonic next to colorful azulejos in Lisbon.

We developed an appreciation for the Gin & Tonic cocktail during our three nomadic years. Not only did we drink the summer sipper in disparate destinations like Barcelona and Cape Town, but we also educated ourselves during a tour of the Bombay Sapphire distillery in Southern England.

Now that we’re based in Lisbon, we typically craft our Gin and Tonics at home using locally sourced Portuguese gin. Like the rest of the world, gin is experiencing a resurgence here – a situation that we’re more than happy to support.

Gin and Tonic History

Gin and Tonic on Lisbon Street with Cable Car
Our Gin and Tonic journey has taken us to Lisbon. Note the famous 28 tram in the distance.

Despite the simplicity of the basic Gin and Tonic recipe with just two required ingredients, the drink’s origin story is long and winding, touching multiple countries along the way.

The Netherlands can claim a piece of credit with its centuries-old jenever, the Dutch juniper berry infused predecessor to gin. Visitors to Amsterdam can drink jenever at bars like De Drie Flescjes and Wynand Fockink.

Jenever Shots at De Drie Fleschjes in Amsterdam
We drank these glasses of jenver at De Drie Flescjes in Amsterdam.

England and India get major props due to the British Empire’s early gin infatuation as well as the addition of quinine-rich tonic water to prevent malaria. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, or, in this case, the G+T.

But the Brits didn’t discover quinine. That accolade goes to Peruvian Incas who extracted quinine from cinchona trees (a/k/a fever trees) for medicinal purposes like treating malaria. They shared their discovery with Spanish explorers who brought quinine back to Europe.

History of Gin at Bombay Sapphire Distillery
Bombay Sapphire offers a trip down gin’s memory lane for visitors to its distillery in Southern England.

The United States joined the gin party in the latter half of the 20th century when fictional characters like James Bond made the botanical beverage cool. At that time, most Americans consumed gin imported from the UK.

Today, both conglomerates and craft distillers produce gin all over the world. The same applies to the recent emergence of boutique tonic water brands like Fever-Tree and Q. These new labels have since joined perennial stalwart Schweppes in adding the ‘T’ to the G+T.

Pro Tip
Read The Book of Gin and learn more about gin’s fascinating history.

Gin and Tonic Ingredients

Gin and Tonic Ingredients
The ingredient list for a Gin and Tonic is as long or as short as you want it to be. Our G+T recipe has five ingredients plus ice cubes.

To make a basic Gin and Tonic recipe, you’ll need gin, tonic and a fresh lime wedge. However, mixologists often add additional fruits and herbs to spruce up this simple sipper.

A quality Gin & Tonic starts with good gin. Since we live in Portugal, we use Portuguese gin in our recipe. For this recipe, we bought a bottle of Gin 13 at a local store for €20.

Tonic and Gin Bottles
Quality gin and tonic water are the two required ingredients in a classic Gin and Tonic cocktail. We use Portuguese gin and Fever-Tree tonic water when we craft G+T’s at home.

Sold in a black bottle decorated with pictures of black cats, clovers and skulls in deference to the unlucky/lucky number 13, Gin 13 incorporates 13 different botanicals – almond, angelica root, black tea, cardamom, coriander seed, ginger, hops, jasmine, juniper, lemon, licorice, mandarin and prince herb into its gin.

The quality of the tonic water is also important. Ideally, the tonic water should be fresh and bubbly. We like to use Fever-Tree in our G+T recipe but any decent tonic water will suffice.

Pro Tip
Open a fresh bottle of tonic water for maximum carbonation.

How to Make a Gin and Tonic

Gin and Tonic Preparation
If you can pour, then you can make a Gin and Tonic cocktail at home.

A classic Gin and Tonic may be the easiest cocktail to make at home. The only required steps involve mixing two ingredients in a glass, slicing a lime for garnish and adding ice.

Mixologists take the preparation further by modifying the gin and tonic ratio and adding additional ingredients. When it comes to making a G+T, the options are as big as the imagination.

Pro Tip
Serve your G+T cocktail in a balloon goblet for extra impact.

Gin and Tonic Variations

Daryl Enjoys Gin and Tonic
Daryl thinks that drinking a G+T is the best part of making the classic cocktail at home.
Mindi Drinks Gin and Tonic
Mindi agrees with Daryl.

The simplicity of the Gin and Tonic lends itself to variations. Our G+T recipe adds fresh rosemary sprig and a dehydrated orange slice, a combination that smells and tastes divine.

You can and should experiment with this recipe. Here are some ideas to try in your kitchen:

  • Experiment with the gin to tonic ratio.
  • Use light or sugar-free tonic water to reduce calories.
  • Use a variety of fresh herbs, spices and dried or fresh fruit to add multiple dimensions of flavor.
  • Add flavored syrup. Our favorite flavor is elderflower.
  • Replace the gin with vodka to create a Vodka Tonic cocktail.

Try our recipe first though. What you do next is up to you.

Gin and Tonic Recipe IMG Recipe

Gin and Toinc

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

The G+T is one of the world's most classic cocktails. We add Portuguese gin and Fever-Tree tonic water to our Gin and Tonic recipe plus a couple of twists.

Ingredients

  • 3 oz. Portuguese gin (preferably Gin 13)
  • 6 oz tonic water (preferably Fever-Tree)
  • 1 rosemary sprig, fresh
  • 1 orange slice, dehydrated
  • fresh lime juice, optional
  • ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Pour gin and tonic into a glass goblet.
  2. Gently stir.
  3. Add enough ice cubes to fill the goblet.
  4. Garnish with a rosemary sprig and dehydrated orange slice.
  5. Option - Add freshly squeezed lime juice to taste.

Notes

  • Use another gin if you don't have access to Portuguese gin.
  • Get creative and switch up the garnishes with items in your kitchen including berries, citrus and herbs.
  • Though this G&T looks best in an oversized glass goblet, you can also serve it in a highball glass.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 275Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 24mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 18gProtein: 0g

Nutrition Disclosure: We used an online calculator to calculate this information. Though 2foodtrippers.com has attempted to secure accurate data, these nutritional figures are estimates.

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Thirsty for More Cocktails?

Check out our Bee’s Knees, Caipirinha, Clover Club, Daiquiri, French 75, Gibson, Mauresque, Mojito, Negroni, Porto Tonico, Spicy Margarita and Tomate cocktail recipes.

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About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Lisa Ritter

Tuesday 30th of June 2020

Looks delicious! The Portuguese seem to love their gin. Almost very little village coffee shop has a bottle or two on the shelf behind the counter. We are really looking forward to getting back to Cascais as soon as possible.