The G&T is a global phenomenon that can’t be stopped. Follow our easy Gin and Tonic Recipe with gin and tonic water plus a couple surprises.
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.
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, Portugal is experiencing a gin resurgence – a situation that we’re more than happy to support.
Gin and Tonic History
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.
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.
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 with sophiticated cocktails like the Vesper. At that time, most Americans consumed gin imported from the UK.
Buy the Big Book of Gin from Amazon. This book provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of gin.
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.
Gin and Tonic Ingredients
To make a basic Gin and Tonic recipe, you just 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 often use Portuguese gin at home when we craft gin cocktails. For this recipe, we bought a bottle of Gin 13 at a local store for 20€.
Discover our favorite gin cocktails.
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.
Buy Fever-Tree ginger beer from Amazon.
How to Craft a Gin and Tonic
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. And the best part? No fancy tools are required.
Discover 10 essential bar tools for home mixologists.
Some 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.
Gin and Tonic Variations
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:
Try our recipe first though. What you do next is up to you.
Gin and Tonic FAQs
The Gin and Tonic is a two-ingredient cocktail that pairs gin with toncic.
Gin, Tonic and Ice Cubes
Your favorite gin is the best gin to use when crafting a Gin and Tonic.
The Gin and Tonic is stirred, not shaken.
No. The Gin and Tonic is super easy to craft at home.
Gin and Tonic Recipe
Gin and Tonic
The G+T is one of the world's most classic cocktails. We add gin and Fever-Tree tonic water to our Gin and Tonic recipe plus a couple of twists.
- 3 ounces gin
- 6 ounces tonic water
- 1 rosemary sprig, fresh
- 1 orange slice, dehydrated
- fresh lime juice, optional
- ice cubes
- Pour gin and tonic into a glass goblet.
- Gently stir.
- Add enough ice cubes to fill the goblet.
- Garnish with a rosemary sprig and dehydrated orange slice.
- Option - Add freshly squeezed lime juice to taste.
- 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.
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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.
Original Publication Date: June 27, 2020
Friday 18th of February 2022
Maybe you should include a lily and some gilding.
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.