The Art of the G&T
In conjunction with the launch of our new 'Gin Appreciation' gifts I thought I would share a few words on our quest for the perfect G&T.
In my twenties I shied away from gin as I thought it made me a little too 'fiesty' but after having children and becoming 'intolerant' to wine (well the sulfites) a G&T became the tipple of choice (without the accompanying attitude shift... I hope!).
With the introduction of premium tonic brands like Fever-Tree and an explosion in craft gins the G&T has never been so popular. Dedicated Gin bars are popping up all over the country and how we serve it has moved on dramatically. This isn't just a gimmick - there is sound logic behind why good gin bars now serve a G&T in oversized balloon glasses with masses of ice and a variety of botanical garnishes.
The 6 Steps to the perfect G&T
- The Glass. Start with a very large balloon style glass with a stem (Copa glass) as the goal of a good G&T is to serve it really cold but not at all watered down. You need a glass that will not be heated up by your hand holding it - hence the Copa glass; hold the glass by the stem when you drink or use a straw.
- Ice. The best friend yet also the nemesis of the perfect G&T. It is absolutely necessary to get the drink nice and cold but you need to avoid the watering down which will kill the bubbles in the tonic. Large ice cubes will hold their temperature for longer without diluting the drink so use the largest ice cubes you can find (we actually bought new ice cube trays just for this reason) - never crushed ice.
- Citrus. Similarly be careful with the citrus. For a long time I would squeeze lemon or lime juice into the drink but since starting our research into the perfect G&T discovered that the strong acidic flavours can mask or impair the subtle nature of some of the more refined gins. The acidic juice will also break the bubble of the tonic water making it flat before its time. When using citrus stick to the rind, a sliver of rind twisted to release some of the oils is how the specialists use it (when they do use it - more of that next).
- Botanicals. By this we mean the seeds, skins, berries and flowers that are used to give gin it's distinctive taste. The main botanical in gin making is Juniper but every gin has a different botanical profile. When making G&Ts at home it is worth spending a few moments researching your favourite gin as a garnish should complement the gin rather than fight against it. The book 'Gins, Tonics and Garnishes' by Gin Foundry is a great place to start.
- Gin. Now, and only now do you add your favourite gin. Sidenote: we had deliberated about putting gin in one of our gift boxes but discovered that many gin lovers had a favourite brand and were particularly loyal to it. We decided instead to create a gift that would appeal to all gin lovers. So if you have a favourite gin - great, but we would encourage you to try out some of the craft gins (ginfoundry.com is a great source for emerging and established craft gins). The ideal ratio is 1 part gin to 2 parts tonic but this does depend on personal preference. Try this ratio and tweak it to your taste.
- Tonic. Choosing a tonic is much like gin, down to personal taste. The important thing to note with tonic is you shouldn't just splash the tonic into the glass if you can help it. Pouring the tonic slowly down a swizzle spoon (provided in our Grande box) is a way of avoiding the bubbles exploding suddenly - this way they don't lose their CO2 therefore making the drink more effervescent. Finally a few light stirs with the spoon (again minimising bubble breakage) and you have a perfect G&T.
If you want a non-alcoholic version Seedlip make an amazing spirit which is a real contender to their alcoholic counterparts.
Hope you have found this interesting reading - a slightly different version of this is included in both of our 'Gin Appreciation' gifts making it a perfect gift for any gin enthusiast this Christmas.