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, although there is somewhat of a science to making the perfect G&T, according to Los Angeles bartender and Candra co-founder Sebastian Hamilton-Mudge. “The Gin and Tonic can be quite a personal drink, so drink it as you like it,” he tells Liquor.com. “But don’t be afraid to try something new.”
According to Hamilton-Mudge, a good Gin and Tonic should be light, crisp and refreshing, and should generally be garnished with fresh citrus. Technically, you can use virtually any gin and any tonic to make this drink, but Hamilton-Mudge stresses the importance of being intentional with your selections on both fronts. “I'm a bit of traditionalist—I like to pair a classic tonic with a London Dry-style gin. I like a good G&T, and for me it 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.”
The Pink Gin and Tonic takes this drink to another level with the addition of Angostura bitters, a classic cocktail “seasoning“ that’s a staple behind bars across the world. Reddish-brown in hue, Angostura both transforms a G&T from crystal clear to soft pink while adding a layer of complexity and subtle bitterness. We can’t take credit for this approach, however—the combination of bitters and gin goes back to the 19th century and has withstood the test of time, both for its medicinal properties and signature flavor. “[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. Use this recipe as a template for your experimentation.
- 1 1/2 ounces gin
- 5 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- Tonic water
Add the gin, bitters and lime juice to a tall glass filled with ice.
Top with tonic water and stir briefly.