How to Make the Best Gin & Tonic

Words by Jane Ryan

Photography by Chase distillery

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Six hacks to take a regular G&T and give it the biggest glow up of Spring 2020.

Mediocre gin and tonics are everywhere, they’re at the pub with the sugary post-mix and fast-melting ice, they’re down at the park in cans which have been sitting in the sun about 20 minutes too long and they’re at friends’ houses who pull out half empty, most-likely flat, tonic bottles at 11pm. They still taste fine, because gin is to tonic what Bert is to Ernie and bread is to butter. But they can be so much more.

Making the ultimate Gin & Tonic isn’t too hard, and when you’re done it’ll look and taste like a beautifully crafted cocktail. We’ve teamed up with Chase Distillery to bring you these six easy upgrades and XXX delicious recipes to follow that will elevate any G&T occasion.

1 –GOOD ICE IS ESSENTIAL

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This is the most important upgrade and the one that will transform your G&Ts from average to outstanding. You need good ice to make any drink but especially so when you’re serving that drink over ice. Do not, unless it is a complete Gin & Tonic emergency, use the small thin ice your freezer produces. It will melt way too quickly, and you’ll be left with a warm and diluted drink. Yuck.

Ideally, when you’ve finished your G&T the ice should still be in the glass pretty much unchanged. To achieve this, you have two options:
Buy ice, and avoid anything hallow or tubular. We’re talking nice chunky cubes that are solid the whole way through. If you’re able to, some ice suppliers we’d suggest are Bare Bones Ice Company in Sydney and Navy Strength Ice Co in Melbourne.

Buy moulds, fill your freezer with silicone moulds that produce thick cubes of ice. We’d suggest using filtered or bottled water as well, as that way you can avoid any mineral taste from tap water. If you’re serving your G&T in a rocks glass then buy moulds that produce one huge chunk of ice. For collins or high-ball glasses you need cubes which stack in the glass and will melt into one long sphere.

Try freezing some cut up fruit in your moulds for this fresh and colourful look.

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2 – DIVERSIFY YOUR GIN CHOICE

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Not all gins taste the same. You probably knew that, but different gins require a different approach for their G&T. Once you’ve nailed the ice, the next most important decision is what gin you’re going to mix with. This will inform what tonic water you use, what garnish you add and if you want to play with any different ingredients such as vermouth.

Start with a classic London dry like Chase GB Gin and find out what its botanicals are. Chase GB Gin is well known as gin full of spice and bold flavour, distilled with ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, almond, coriander, cloves, cardamon, liquorice and lemon peel. There’s plenty of zesty lemon freshness and assertive spice so a tonic that’s heavy on the quinine is going to be an overload of flavour. A more gentle tonic and a garnish of ginger and lemon will make the perfect G&T.

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Once you’ve nailed a classic G&T get creative with flavoured gins. Look for bright, fresh tastes as opposed to confected ones – Chase Grapefruit & Pomelo or Seville Marmalade are perfect for a bright zippy G&T while the Chase Rhubarb and Bramley Apple gin is a great alternative for a tart and tangy drink.

Keep gin in your freezer for a perfectly chilled spirit ready to pour.

3 – UP YOUR TONIC GAME

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Avoid flat one litre bottles of tonic taking up room in your fridge by making the switch to cases of smaller bottles. Fentimans, Capi and Fever Tree are all high-quality tonics that aren’t going to overpower your gin in the Gin & Tonic and come in small serves so you can keep things fresh and effervescent. Remember, tonic is important but it’s also playing the supporting role and anything that’s too aggressive and bitter will make your drink too abrasive.

When it comes to flavoured tonics, opt for natural, quality flavours such as Fentimans Valencia Orange tonic or their Pink Grapefruit tonic. And for those who want to amplify the gin and tone down the tonic, give the lighter, drier styles a go – Fever Tree’s Mediterranean Tonic Water, Fentiman’s Connoisseurs Tonic Water or Capi Australian Dry Toni Water are all must-tries.

4 – DOUBLE DOWN ON GARNISHES

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Garnish in twos for an upgraded G&T. It’s not just a fat lemon wedge but a slice of fresh ginger too. Add a thyme sprig in with grapefruit, slices of green apple with mint or lime with cracked black pepper. If knowing what to garnish a drink with seems daunting, just return back to that botanical list and see what’s there – or better yet stick your nose in the gin and see what you can find.

Garnishes are there to build on what you can already taste and smell, and amplify it. A grapefruit gin will shine even brighter with a zesty grapefruit skin twisted over the top to allow all the aromatic oils to sit on the surface of the drink. A mint sprig does the same every time you take a sip.

When working with mint or basil, gently slap the spring into the palm of your hand a few times to release more aromas before garnishing.

5 – ADD IN SOMETHING EXTRA

A G&T doesn’t just have to contain gin and tonic water. Vermouths, dry sherries, amaros and bitters can all play well in a Gin & Tonic. Here are some examples:

PINK GIN & TONIC
Serve in: Collins glass
Garnish:Lime wedge and fresh ginger slice
How to make: POUR gin and bitters into an ice-filled glass. TOP with tonic water and briefly stir.
60ml Chase GB Gin
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
150ml Fentimans Connoisseurs Tonic Water

MILANESE G&T
Serve in: Collins glass
Garnish:Grapefruit slice and fresh thyme sprig
How to make: POUR ingredients into an ice-filled glass. TOP with tonic water and briefly stir.
40ml Chase Grapefruit & Pomelo Gin
20ml Italian red bitter liqueur
150ml Fentimans Connoisseurs Tonic Water

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MED SPRITZ
Serve in: Wine glass
Garnish:Orange slice and fresh rosemary sprig
How to make: POUR ingredients into an ice-filled glass. TOP with tonic water and briefly stir.
37.5ml Chase Seville Marmalade Gin
12.5ml Bianco Vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
150ml Fentimans Connoisseurs Tonic Water

6 – GET THAT GLASS IN YOUR FREEZER

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With all the ice moulds and gin in your freezer there’s probably not a lot of room. But if you can pop in some glasses as well, you’ll be serving the best G&Ts in town – always crisp, always fresh, always flavoursome.
And mix up your glass choice – wine glasses give a Mediterranean Spritz vibe, Spanish Copa or balloon glasses will give you sundowners in Madrid and a collins glass is perfect for channelling cocktail hour in the English countryside.

Leave your mediocre G&Ts behind, and get sprucing.

More recipes

RHUBARB & BRAMLEY APPLE GIN AND TONIC
Serve in: Collins glass
Garnish:Green apple slice and fresh rosemary sprig
How to make: POUR ingredients into an ice-filled glass. TOP with tonic water and briefly stir.
50ml Chase Rhubarb & Bramley Apple Gin
20ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
10ml MONIN sugar syrup
50ml cloudy apple juice
50ml Fentimans Connoisseurs Tonic Water

G&T ROYALE
Serve in: Collins glass
Garnish:Lemon wheel and fresh ginger slice
How to make: POUR ingredients into an ice-filled glass. TOP with tonic water and champagne, and briefly stir.
35ml Chase GB Gin
10ml MONIN vanilla syrup
2 dash orange bitters
60ml Fentimans Indian Tonic Water
60ml Brut Champagne

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GB DANDY
Serve in: Collins glass
Garnish: Lemon peel
How to make: POUR ingredients into an ice-filled glass. TOP with tonic water and briefly stir
50ml Chase GB Gin
12.5ml sweet vermouth
150ml Fentimans Connoisseurs Tonic Water

SEVILLE MARMALADE GIN, ROSEMARY & TONIC
Serve in: Collins glass
Garnish: Orange peel and rosemary sprig
How to make: POUR ingredients into an ice-filled glass. TOP with tonic water and briefly stir.
50ml Chase Seville Marmalade Gin
12.5ml Homemade Rosemary Sugar Syrup*
150ml Fentimans Connoisseurs Tonic Water

*To make the rosemary sugar syrup, get a medium saucepan and combine the sugar and water together. Add a bunch of fresh rosemary to infuse. Pop onto a medium heat and let the sugar dissolve. Leave to cool with the rosemary in and once cool, decant into a bottle.

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