With signs of Spring starting to show, I’m dreaming of summer garden parties and sitting out late into the evening. The best way to enjoy the garden? If not with my lemon prosecco summer cocktail, then it has to be with a gin in hand of course! This post is all about my top 5 gin and tonics to enjoy at home, plus it includes an easy way to take your gin and tonic game to the next level! But first some basics to help you take your Gin and Tonic level up a notch.
Basics: the tonic
Personally, I don’t drink many sugary drinks and find full fat tonic leaves my teeth feeling sticky. So, I prefer slim line tonic. My go-to brands are Fever Tree and Britvic (both in slim line). Finding a tonic you like can be the key to enjoying your gin and tonic, so experiment a little until you’ve found your favourite.
Basics: the ice
No gin and tonic is complete without ice. Whether its basic cubed ice, impressive coloured ice or even a large ice ball, be sure to add ice to your gin and tonic for the best experience. If you want to get really creative, how about making ice using botanicals or fresh herbs, so that as the ice melts more flavour enters the drink.
Basics: accompaniments (the raising your game bit)
Years ago, we stayed in one of our favourite Tenerife hotels (the Sir Anthony in Las Americas) and had the best gin and tonics we’d tasted. Why? All because of a little box of tricks… well accompaniments. The box contained various botanicals from cardamon to hibiscus flowers, Persian roses to pink peppercorns. Not only that, but the box also advises on the best gins to use for each botanical.
This was before Gin and tonic really took off in the UK and I’d never seen all these accompaniments before. When we returned to the UK, I ordered the same box the hotel had and we’ve kept the ingredients topped up ever since!
You can get the same box of botanicals from Amazon here (UK link) and here (US link) (the low rating on Amazon is because the latest boxes seem to come in German! That takes nothing away from the magic you can work with the botanicals though). This box will really up your Gin and Tonic game… the only other things you’ll need are fresh herbs and fruit, depending on the drink you’d like to make.
My top 5 home Gin and Tonics
1. Gin Mare, served with fresh rosemary and black pepper
Gin Mare (meaning sea) is already infused with Mediterranean botanicals such as olives, thyme, rosemary, basil, cardamon, coriander and juniper berries. Adding fresh rosemary and cubeb pepper really brings out the herbaceous flavours in the drink. Lightly crush the pepper to release more flavour before adding. If you don’t have cubeb pepper, black peppercorns could be used as a substitute.
Herb enhanced gin and tonics are amongst my favourites. They really bring out that fresh summer feeling, even on dull winter days, and are an alternative to citrus flavours.
I prefer using small cans/bottles of tonic as they’re fresh every time. Once a large bottle is opened it quickly goes flat. Small cans are perfect to keep in the fridge.
Tip: drink this through a thin paper straw, otherwise you’ll end up with pepper in your mouth!
Alternative gin: Manchester three rivers gin. This is another of my favourites, that we enjoyed recently during our Secret Supper evening with Jean-Chrstophe Novelli.
2. Harris gin, served with fresh grapefruit
This relative newcomer not only comes in a gorgeous bottle, its tasty too.
Made using nine botanicals, it’s the sugar kelp that gives the spirit a costal feel, but there is unmistakeable citrus tones too. Pairing it with fresh grapefruit results in a lively, refreshing drink, with smooth undertones. I added a large ice ball too.
The distillery has a strong community ethos and works to improve the Isle of Harris, so its nice to know buying the drink has a positive impact too.
Currently, the inaugural release is only available direct from the distillery via their website (or on the Isle of Harris, if you happen to be up that way!), though there is an increasing number of click and collect partners they work with too.
Interesting note: every bottle is different, as the labels are individually flecked with fragments of copper leaf and Sugar Kelp, meaning no two are the same. Plus, the dimpled glass bottle with turquoise base makes a great addition to any drinks cabinet!
Alternative gin: Tanqueray or Brockmans premium gin.
3. Pink 47 infused with hibiscus flowers
Another tip – leaving your gin to infuse with your accompaniments overnight enhances the flavour. If the accompaniment you choose is pink, such as persian roses or hibiscus flowers, it also turns your gin pink! In fact, the hibiscus flowers basically send the fin ruby red if you leave them for 24 hours (check out the picture below).
We have a little glass bottle which we use to infuse our gin (shown below) and the colours are so pretty when infusing with hibiscus or Persian roses. You can get a similar glass bottle here (UK) and here (US).
Pink 47 works really well with hibiscus flowers. It adds just a hint of tanginess, similar to cranberries or pomegranate. Top up with your tonic of choice and voila, a lovely pink Gin and Tonic 😄
Alternative gin: hibiscus flower combines with any gin!
4. Macaronesian gin with cardamon and mint
This Macaronesian gin is produced in the canary islands. I pick up a bottle pretty much every time we go to see my in-laws who live there, but you can get it delivered in the UK. It uses water filtered through Canarian volcanic rocks and botanicals including juniper, cardamon, angelica, liquorice, lemon peel and orange peel.
One way I enjoy this gin is to add cardamon seeds and give it a fresh feeling by adding some mint leaves. Give the cardamon seeds a squeeze before adding to release the flavour. Try with Fever Tree’s Mediterranean tonic for extra Canarian flavour. Drink this gin and tonic through a straw so you don’t end up with seeds in your mouth!
Alternative gin: this works with any dry or spicy gin, such as Opihr spiced gin.
5. Pink gin and tonic
Fancy something a little different? Pink gin has really made a resurgence over the past year or so in the UK. Its colour is created from a dash of Angostura bitters, a dark red bitters that makes the whole drink pinkish. This also gives it a sweeter flavour than traditional ‘dry’ gin. Serve with your choice of tonic, and garnish with fresh fruit, or frozen for an extra splash of colour.
For a further twist, try mixing two parts pink gin to two parts lemonade, and one part prosecco.
Hopefully you’ve been inspired by some new ways to try your gin this Spring and Summer. Let me know in the comments below which you enjoyed most and tag me on instagram in your creations 😄
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