Gin and tonic were made for one another, and the classic combination has been around for centuries. It all seems simple enough—the essential ingredients are right there in the name.
According to Los Angeles bartender and Candra co-founder Sebastian Hamilton-Mudge, a good Pink Gin & Tonic (and any other gin & tonic, for that matter) should be light, crisp and refreshing, and should generally be garnished with fresh citrus. What sets this rosy riff apart is the addition of Angostura, which adds balancing bitterness to any drink along with a layer of complex baking spice. In this use, it also provides that lovely pink hue. The Pink Gin & Tonic is not only easy to make but brings a fresh, nuanced flavor profile to the classic recipe.
The genius combination—and delightful coloring—of bitters and gin has withstood the test of time. “[Pink gin] goes back to sometime after 1830 when British Royal Naval sailors got their hands on it and mixed it with gin onboard ship to combat seasickness,” Hamilton-Mudge shares. The gin of the era was Plymouth gin, which is a somewhat sweeter style than the citrus-forward London Dry category, but you’ll have to decide for yourself which gin is best for your G&T.
For a full-on English experience, Hamilton-Mudge has a pairing suggestion for your next Pink G&T: “For me, [this drink] comes into its own when served with British-style fish and chips. It’s one of the most deliciously simple food pairings you can get your hands on—the light, refreshing citrusy notes along with a bitter finish pairs and cuts through the richness of the dish perfectly.” Whether you follow Hamilton-Mudge’s lead or enjoy this cocktail on its own, there’s no wrong way to do it.
1 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
5 dashes Angostura bitters
Tonic water, chilled, to top
Add the gin, lime juice and bitters into a tall glass filled with ice.
Top with the tonic water and stir briefly.