How to make the perfect gin and tonic

You might think that a “how to make the perfect gin and tonic” post would consist of simply saying “pour some gin and some tonic into a glass, drink”.

Well you couldn’t be more wrong.  Actually that isn’t fair.  And whilst this is my perfect gin and tonic recipe, there is no such thing as a bad gin and tonic, it’s a marriage made in heaven after all, but this method will take your favourite tipple up a notch. It will mean that you can make it like a pro, and wow your guests in the process.

Choose your vessel

First of all you need a balloon glass.  Forget those small tumblers that were all the rage in the 70s.  You need a big balloon of a glass, with a stem, and with an opening big enough to stick your nose in.   A huge percentage of what we taste is governed by what we smell (pinch your nose and chew on a piece of mint if you don’t believe me. You won’t taste a thing.  Let go of your nose and you get a sudden hit of mint) so you need to get your nose in the glass when you drink.   For that reason you are also banned from using straws to drink your G&T.   Your nose is too far away from the glass and you won’t get all the flavours. Stir it with a stirrer by all means, but ditch the straw.


Next you need to add ice.  Lots of it.   Fill the glass.   The more ice you have in the glass the better as this stops the ice melting, and diluting your drink.   If you only put a couple of cubes in a glass they melt and you end up drinking water.  So fill that glass, and, if you can, swirl them around until they spin.   If you have a long bar spoon you can stir them.  This is called “activating” the ice and it will get any water out of the ice that is ready to go, you can then strain this out, leaving you with ice that is ready to chill your drink and not melt into your gin.


Then you put the cheapest ingredients in first, in case you muck it up.  So put in the lemon or lime wedges, sprig of mint, juniper berries, slice of apple, whatever you fancy, (or your recipe dictates).

Pick your gin

Then you add your gin.  You really should measure it rather than free pour, so get yourself a jigger (so named as bar tenders called it thingamejig which then got shortened to jigger) and pour either a single or a double.  Most jiggers are double ended, so you can pour singles and doubles depending on which end you fill.

If you are new to gin and not really sure what to go for, pick something smooth and without an overpowering taste: Bathtub, Silent Pool, Bombay Sapphire for example.     If you love a hit of juniper then try Tanqueray, Sipsmith or Beefeater.   If citrus is more your thing then go for Malfy, Chase’s pink grapefruit and pomelo or Sipsmith’s lemon drizzle.

If you need more inspiration for a new gin then maybe my A-Z of gin could help you find one (or drop me a message on Instagram or Twitter)


Then you fill the glass with your desired mixer, at a ratio of double the amount of mixer to gin.  A word to the wise, don’t stick to the humble tonic water.  There are as many mixers out there now as there are gins and pairing your gin to your mixer is a real art form in itself.    For instance, try good quality lemonade in your citrus gin, try ginger ale in your rhubarb and ginger gin, or even warm apple juice served in enamel mug with your favourite gin on a cold evening.

And there you have it, your perfect gin and tonic



Image of G&T courtesy of Shutterstock

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