A while ago Heston Blumenthal published how to make the perfect G&T. I beg to differ, that is NOT how to make the perfect G&T
Sorry Heston, but your perfect G&T recipe is wrong. You and I nearly came to blows over your perfect cup of tea making a few years ago and now it looks like we are going to fall out again, this time over gin. Which is a shame, as I am a huge fan of yours, hell our kitchen is a like a shrine to you with our ever increasing collection of Sage Appliances.
Also like you, I am now a maker of gin. Yep. I made a gin, just like you have done ( I am kicking myself for not calling my latest creation Lazy, as you have) except I can’t claim mine is for sale in Waitrose.
This weekend it came to my attention that you had talked to a tabloid about how to make the perfect G&T:
Now, I don’t have a problem with your theory on the glass. In my opinion you should always serve your gin in a large glass. So much so that I put that suggestion on the back of my gin label. It is important to get our noses into a glass as smelling our food or drink allows us to taste so much more. For the same reason gin and tonic should never be served in a glass with a straw. Straws should be banned. They add nothing to the experience, and in fact detract from it. Get your nose in the glass to get the best flavours. But that is another story.
What really makes me cross, Heston, is your suggestion that the ice go in AFTER the gin. Are you mad, man? Your wikipedia page says that you
… advocates scientific understanding in cooking, for which he has been awarded honorary degrees from Reading, Bristol and London universities and made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He is a pioneer of multisensory cooking, foodpairing and flavour encapsulation
So why in the name of juniper are you getting this so wrong? You don’t put the gin in the glass first, and then the ice. That is fighting talk, Heston. Fighting talk. And wrong. And against all the basic scientific principles of how ice works. I can’t claim to compete with you on the science stakes, given that I have only got a grade 4 CSE in chemistry, but I think I can give you a run for your money on the gin knowledge stakes and I am calling you out on this and telling you are wronger than a wrong un on this recipe.
You add the ice first. Before anything else, you put ice in the glass. And you don’t just “add” it, you fill the glass with it. Get as much in the glass as you can. Why? Well I am surprised you don’t know why, Heston. Because the more ice in the glass the more slowly it melts and therefore the more slowly it dilutes your G&T. How many times have you had a G&T with a single ice cube that has melted before you have even taken the first sip? Exactly, you need LOTS of ice. Not some, and not added after the gin has been put in the glass. You need to fill the glass with ice, so that you have ice left when you finished your drink, and haven’t diluted your drink with cold water.
And the reason you add it first is because once your glass is filled with ice, you put a bar strainer over the top, and swirl the ice around in the glass. This allows some of the ice to melt ever so slightly and means you can immediately pour this away, through the strainer. Leaving you with the perfect amount of ice, at the right temperature in the glass.
So if you had put the gin in first you would be chucking away good gin, and nobody wants that, do they?
Next you add a squeeze from a wedge of lemon / lime in to the glass, releasing the citrus flavours. This will allow them to mix perfectly into your finished cocktail.
Then you pour in your chosen gin, followed by your mixer. Making sure you stick to a 1:2 ratio for the gin to mixer.
So I agree with you that the mixer goes in last, but I cannot agree with you that the ice goes in after the gin.
Don’t believe me? You bring your gin, I will bring mine, and I will show you. Just name your bar.
Image of G&T courtesy of Shutterstock