When you walk into any bar, the gin bottles will be on display for you to choose. The tonic will invariably come out of a soda gun which also serves coke and lemonade. You’ll probably get a ton of ice and a slice of lemon, or a wedge of lime.
There are so many things wrong with this but here are the main issues:
PROBLEM: Gin and Tonic is a drink to be savoured. If it’s served to warm the ice will melt too quickly and dilute the drink.
SOLUTION: Store gin in the freezer. From the start your drink will be colder and the ice will melt more slowly. If you work in a bar, perhaps keep some gin bottles on display (like white wine) but keep the pouring stuff in the fridge.
PROBLEM: Tonic from a soda gun! Enough said.
SOLUTION: If they know their stuff, the bar will have bottled tonic kept in the fridge. If you are making this at home, keep tonic in the fridge, preferably in glass bottles. This will ensure the tonic is in perfect condition. If you can afford single serve glass bottles even better – tonic can go flat if you don’t use a one litre bottle in a few days.
PROBLEM: Too much ice. Why do bars insist on giving you so much ice? Simple, it makes your drink fill the glass and looks better.
SOLUTION: If your gin and tonic is cold already you really only need a few cubes of ice to keep it that way. Here’s a fun tip, go and buy some juniper berries and freeze them in the ice cubes. Or, instead of ice cubes try those reusable stone cubes in the freezer. They don’t melt and they hold the cold for longer.
PROBLEM: Lemon or lime (or cucumber) only. Not all gins are designed to be used with these fruit, some are better with strawberries, or even cinnamon bark!
SOLUTION: If you are in good bar they will know exactly how to get the best out of each gin. If you are not sure, ask. If they are not sure, then become a member of Gin Lane and learn!
So, is there an evil bar conspiracy going on? Probably not, it’s probably just laziness or inadequate training. We try to avoid ordering G&Ts if the bar doesn’t use, at least, refrigerated bottled tonic water and super-cooled ice cubes.
Gin and tonic is a match made in heaven. Made well and you’ll have a long, cool refreshing drink, all the way to the bottom of the glass.