Gin and tonic
Gin and tonic with lime wedge
|Primary alcohol by volume|
|Served||Poured over cubes of ices ("on the rocks")|
|Standard garnish||A slice of lime|
|Standard drinkware||Highball glass or rocks glass|
|Commonly used ingredients||Gin and tonic water, according to taste|
|Preparation||In a glass filled with ice cubes, add gin and tonic.|
A gin and tonic or, less frequently, gin tonic, is a highball cocktail made with gin and tonic water poured over a large amount of ice. The ratio of gin to tonic varies according to taste, strength of the gin, other drink mixers being added, etc., with most recipes calling for a ratio between 1:1 and 1:3. It is usually garnished with a slice or wedge of lime. To preserve effervescence, the tonic can be poured down a bar spoon. The ice cools the gin, dulling the effect of the alcohol in the mouth and making the drink more pleasant and refreshing to taste.
In some countries (e.g. UK), gin and tonic is also marketed pre-mixed in single-serving cans. In the United States, most bars use "soda out of a gun that in no way, shape, or form resembles quinine water", according to bartender Dale DeGroff. To get a real gin and tonic, DeGroff recommends specifying bottled tonic. Alternatively, one can add tonic syrup to soda water.
It is commonly referred to as a G and T in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. In some parts of the world, it is called a gin tonic (e.g. in Germany, Italy, France, Japan ( ジン・トニック, phonetically "jin tonikku"), the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey).
Gin and tonic is traditionally garnished with a slice or wedge of lime, often slightly squeezed into the drink before being placed in the glass. In most parts of the world, lime remains the only usual garnish; however, lemon is often used as an alternative fruit. In the United Kingdom, the use of both lemon and lime together is known as an "Evans". Although the origins of the use of lemons are unknown, their use dates back at least as far as the late 1930s. In addition, lemons are often more readily available, and cheaper to purchase, than limes. The use of lemon or lime is a debated issue – some leading brands, such as Gordon's, Tanqueray, and Bombay Sapphire, recommend the use of lime in their gin.
The cocktail was introduced by the army of the British East India Company in India. In India and other tropical regions, malaria was a persistent problem. In the 1700s, Scottish doctor George Cleghorn studied how quinine, a traditional cure for malaria, could be used to prevent the disease. The quinine was drunk in tonic water but the bitter taste was unpleasant. British officers in India in the early 19th century took to adding a mixture of water, sugar, lime and gin to the quinine in order to make the drink more palatable, thus gin and tonic was born. Soldiers in India were already given a gin ration, and the sweet concoction made sense. Since it is no longer used as an antimalarial, tonic water today contains much less quinine, is usually sweetened, and is consequently much less bitter.
Gin and tonic is a popular cocktail during the summer. A 2004 study found that after 12 hours, "considerable quantities (500 to 1,000 ml) of tonic water may, for a short period of time, lead to quinine plasma levels at the lower limit of therapeutic efficacy and may, in fact, cause transitory suppression of parasites". This method of consumption of quinine was impractical for malaria prophylaxis, as the amount of drug needed "cannot be maintained with even large amounts of tonic". The authors concluded that it is not an effective form of treatment for malaria.
Besides the classic lime wheel, garnishes can include, for example, orange peel, star anise, thyme-elderflower, a slice of ginger, pink grapefruit and rosemary, cucumber, mint and black peppercorns, strawberry and basil, strawberry syrup, chillies and lime, etc. Fruits such as kumquats or other citrus or cucumber can be muddled in it. A gin and tonic can also be mixed with a sorbet.
Some gin-and-tonic inspired drinks also have champagne (e.g. the Parisian), vermouth and Campari (e.g. the Sbagliato-nic), vermouth and bitters (e.g. the Posh G&T), super smokey whiskey (e.g. the Ol' Smokey), peach liqueur and grapefruit bitters (e.g. the Tonic Delight), mint bitters and chocolate liqueur (e.g. the Guilty Pleasure), etc.
In Spain, a variation on the drink called Gin-Tonic has become popular. This differs from a traditional gin and tonic as it is served in a balloon glass (copa de balon) or coupe glass with plenty of ice and a garnish tailored to the flavours of the gin. The drink could be fruit-based but the use of herbs and vegetables, reflecting the gin's botanicals, is increasingly popular. The balloon glass is used because the aromas of the drink can gather at its opening for the drinker to more easily appreciate.
The popularity of this variation of the gin and tonic has led to the establishment of Gin-Tonic bars, in which customers can choose their preferred gin, tonic, and garnish from a menu.
In popular culture
The trans-galactic nature of the gin and tonic is imagined in Douglas Adams' novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, which describes how "85% of all known worlds in the Galaxy, be they primitive or highly advanced, have invented a drink called jynnan tonnyx, or gee-N'N-T'N-ix, or jinond-o-nicks, or any one of a thousand or more variations on the same phonetic theme. The drinks themselves are not the same, and vary between the Sivolvian 'chinanto/mnigs' which is ordinary water served at slightly above room temperature, and the Gagrakackan 'tzjin-anthony-ks' which kills cows at a hundred paces; and in fact the one common factor between all of them, beyond the fact that the names sound the same, is that they were all invented and named before the worlds concerned made contact with any other worlds."
Founded in 2010, International Gin & Tonic Day is celebrated worldwide on 19 October.
Gin and tonic made from Estonian Crafter's Gin. The botanicals in the gin have turned the drink pink in colour
- Dubonnet, another drink invented to encourage European colonial soldiers in tropical climates to take quinine
- Lillet, an aperitif wine
- Pink Gin, Plymouth gin mixed with Angostura bitters
- Quinquina, a quinine-containing beverage sometimes used as a mixer with gin
- Beton, a cocktail made by mixing tonic water with Becherovka, a Czech bitters
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