God Save the Gin and Tonic: 3 Twists on the Staple Cocktail

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This author’s affair with GinTonic*—truly, a romance for the ages—almost never happened. The events of this timeless tale of star-crossed lovers and a prince-(g)in-disguise are printed below.

After downing (and drowning in) dollar wells in college, I wrongfully dismissed the Hero of this Story, GinTonic, as a disgusting drink laced with nausea and regret. Because the Hero’s bottom-shelf brethren reek of pine trees and bad decisions, I spent years wrongfully discriminating my ride-or-die drink. Simply smelling the spirit could trigger a headache more piercing than Jared Leto’s eyes, and the notion that “juniper berry-based liquor + cheap-costing tonics = delicious” is more ridiculous than any given Facebook News Feed.

Despite biting my thumb at our Hero for years, in the end, all it took to change my mind was one liter of Tanqueray with an old friend and a few exotic tonics. And it’s no surprise, really. GinTonic is perfect for every occasion: add a splash of lemonade, drink it for America at a garden party, enjoy with iced tea; combine with crème légère, toast the art gallery.

After tasting these drinks, we’re confident you’ll profess your undying love to GinTonic with a conviction rivalling Tom Cruise’s proclamation to Katie Holmes on Oprah. The only difference is that GT, unlike KT, won’t divorce you no matter what you do. Le swoon.

For best results, freeze balloon-style glasses overnight; fill to brim with high-quality, large ice cubes (to minimize dilution); and, use individual bottles of tonic water (to ensure carbonation).

*The “and” has been omitted from “Gin and Tonic,” because, efficiency. Why waste drinking-time on an unnecessary conjunction?

Sant Jordi

star anise via pass the palate.jpg
Photo via Pass the Palate

2 oz. Bulldog Gin
¾ oz. John’s Premium Tonic Syrup
6 oz. club soda
2 dashes of Hella Aromatic Bitters
1 Orange
Cinnamon stick, for garnish

Sant Jordi’s Day is the most romantic day of the year in Catalonia. Like its namesake, this magical potion will sweep you off your feet and keep you coming back for more. This will be a storybook tale for the ages.

Directions: Cut the orange in half. Add the juice of one half, then rub the peel around the rim of the glass (now, toss this half in the trash). Add the gin, syrup, soda, and bitters, and stir well. Garnish with one slice of orange and cinnamon stick.

Schweppes Me Off My Feet

schweppes via Rokz.jpg
Photo via Rokz

2 oz. G’Vine Floraison Gin
6.8 oz. Fever Tree Indian Tonic Water (1 bottle)
3/4 oz. ginger liqueur http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/02/ginger-liqueur-is-so-hot-right-now-and-intense.html)
2 dashes of Cardomom Bitters
Cardomom seeds
Candied ginger, for garnish

Inspired by an intimate affair with a Schweppes Premium Mixer,* the orgasmic combination of cardamom and ginger creates a condition the medical community refers to as a “total eclipse of the heart.”

Directions: Fill glass with all ingredients except the garnish. Stir until chilled. Add toothpick-skewer of candied ginger.

*Schweppes Ginger & Cardomom Tonic is annoyingly unavailable in the U.S.

Mr. Michev

Mr michev via Drinking in America.jpg
Photo via Drinking in America

8 oz. Tanqueray Bloomsbury Gin
1 beet, peeled and quartered
3 limes
14 mint leaves
4 × 6.8 oz. Fentimans Tonic Water
Recipe yields four drinks

A refreshing and innovative approach to the classic, nothing beets (heh) Mr. Michev. This flavorful GinTonic boldly challenges any preconceived notions on vegetables, gin, and the combination thereof, with a playful punch of earthy botanicals like coriander and cassia bark. His mischievous undertones are contagious—after one sip, you’ll answer his punch with a smirk: “Alright, go on and beet me up, Mr. Michev.”

Directions: Combine gin and beet in a glass. Let sit overnight. Muddle 10 mint leaves and the zest and juice of two limes. Discard the beet, and combine the infused gin and muddled mixture in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into four glasses. Add one bottle of tonic to each glass and stir. Garnish with a sliced lime and mint leaf.