I was late to the Gin & Tonic party! I just started drinking them within the past five years, but I certainly wish I had discovered this classic cocktail much earlier.
With only a few ingredients, it couldn’t be easier to make and is the ultimate clean, clear cocktail to enjoy on a hot summer day. (Although, having said that, it’s a simple and elegant cocktail that can be enjoyed all year-long.)
I thought it would be fun to research the origins of the Gin & Tonic (often called a G & T) and was very surprised by what I learned!
It seems the cocktail was first used for medicinal purposes by the army of the British East India Company in India. As we know, in India and other tropical climates, malaria can be a problem. In the 1700s it was discovered by a Scottish doctor that the quinine found in tonic water could be used to prevent and treat malaria. (Apparently, in those days, tonic water contained a significant amount of quinine, however, because of that it had a bitter taste was very unpleasant.)
So, fast forward 100 years. British officers in India in the early 19th century took to adding a mixture of water, sugar, lime and gin to the tonic water to make the drink more palatable, and the Gin & Tonic was born. (Soldiers in India were already given a gin ration, so this concoction made sense).
I guess this is why we often associate the Gin & Tonic with the British.
Today, since it is no longer used as an antimalarial, tonic water has much less quinine, is usually sweetened, and is consequently, much less bitter.
Well, that’s it for the history lesson…hahaha, I just wanted to give you some Gin & Tonic background because I thought it was so interesting!
Now, on to the important stuff…the recipe!
- Tonic Water Ice Cubes (You can use regular water ice cubes but the tonic water cubes work the best, they don't water down the drink as the ice melts.)
- 1½ ounces (45ml) good quality Gin
- 3 ounces (90 ml) Tonic Water (I definitely recommend Canada Dry)
- ½ ounce (15ml) Freshly squeezed lime juice
- Lime slice or wedge (garnish)
- Place the ice cubes in a tall, narrow, chilled glass (the cubes should come near the top.) Add the gin, then the tonic water, then the lime juice, stirring well. Garnish with lime slice or wedge and serve immediately.
To make the ice cubes, simply fill an empty ice cube tray with tonic water, and let the cubes freeze. Transfer to a freezer bag. Covered well, the cubes will remain fresh-tasting in the freezer for a few weeks.
As always, if you have any questions at all, feel free to ask and I will do my very best to answer.
Have you ever had a Gin & Tonic? What is your favourite summertime (or anytime) cocktail?