The Best Gin and Tonic Recipe

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 20, 2023

Done right, the Gin and Tonic is one of the most invigorating classic cocktail recipes. It's refreshing, versatile, and well-balanced. But what makes the perfect G&T?
Gin and tonic garnished with blood orange and thyme

The Gin and Tonic recipe is easy and straightforward, with a long history. But it's important to pay attention to all the little details to take the drink to the next level. We share them with you: starting with the ideal ratio of Gin to tonic water, the best Gin for the cocktail, all the way to the best ways to garnish it.

Learn how to mix this refreshing two-component summer drink and how to serve it to your guests.

Ingredients to make a perfect Gin and Tonic

The key to a great Gin and Tonic recipe is the perfect balance of bitter flavor in the tonic water and botanical notes of Gin without using simple syrup to sweeten the drink. To highlight the flavors of the Gin, you garnish it with botanicals that either emphasize its ingredients or complement them. 

So in order to make a G&T, you need:

  • Gin - There's no ultimate best choice for this classic gin cocktail recipe. Depending on the type of Gin, the taste and character of the drink will vary. Traditional options like the London Dry Gin from Tanqueray, Gordon, or Bombay Sapphire always work. Yet, there are many more fantastic Gins to make a G&T. My recommendations are Hendricks, Monkey 47, and Bobby's Dry Gin.
  • Tonic water - Tonic water gets its distinct bitter note from quinine contained in cinchona bark. Cheap options are often too sweet, so using premium tonic water like Fever Tree Indian Tonic is vital. After all, the mixer makes ¾ of the drink's recipe. You can also make your own version with our homemade tonic syrup recipe and soda water. If that's too complicated, check out our recommendations for tonic water in a G&T.
  • Ice - Using quality ice cubes or spheres is crucial to keep your drink chilled and carbonated for an extended time. Contrary to popular belief, more ice does not mean more watering, but actually less because the ice cubes melt more slowly. 
  • Garnish - This part depends on the Gin you choose. A fresh lime wedge or lemon almost always fits, but I recommend picking a garnish that complements the base spirit. For Hendrick's Gin, go with a cucumber slice, Monkey 47 works great with lemon and dried juniper berry, and Bobby's is best-served with an orange peel.

The ideal ratio of Tonic to Gin

A ratio of 1 part Gin to 3 parts tonic water is preferable. But no recipe will work for everyone and every combination.

Some prefer to let the Gin shine, while others are looking for a drink with a lower alcohol level. Everything from 1:1 up to 1:4 is practicable and can produce excellent results.

Gin and Tonic recipe with juniper berries, lemon and rosemary

How to serve it

There's still something important missing from the best Gin and Tonic, the glassware.

The G&T is technically a Highball and, thus, often served in a classic Highball glass. While this is perfectly fine, there are some other options to consider.

My two favorites are the balloon-shaped coppa glass that has plenty of space for an extra ice cube out two, and a heavy crystal glass (somewhere between Highball and Collins). For more details on glassware, check out our guide to the best glasses for a perfect Gin and Tonic.

Gin and Tonic Variations

  • The Pink Fig Gin and Tonic, sweetened with homemade fig syrup.
  • Our Aperol Gin & Tonic recipe adds complexity by bringing the Italian Amaro liqueur to the recipe.
  • Adding fresh lemon or lime juice is a common way to make it more refreshing. Alternatively, fresh yuzu or grapefruit juice works too.
  • If you need more flavor, consider adding aromatic bitters to your G&T.
Gin and tonic garnished with blood orange and thyme

Gin and Tonic

A refreshing Highball made with Gin and tonic water
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Keyword: Gin
Servings: 1
Calories: 216kcal
Cost: $2



  • 2 ounces Gin
  • 6 ounces Tonic water
  • 1 Lemon/lime wheel or other suitable garnish


  • Fill your glass with ice cubes.
  • Add a bit of tonic water, approx. 1 - 1.5 oz.
    6 ounces Tonic water
  • Gently pur in the Gin followed by the rest of the tonic water.
    2 ounces Gin, 6 ounces Tonic water
  • Press some lemon juice into the drink and add your garnish to the drink.
    1 Lemon/lime wheel or other suitable garnish


Serving: 8oz | Calories: 216kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Sodium: 25mg | Sugar: 18g | Calcium: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the alcohol content of a Gin and Tonic?

The alcohol content of a Gin and Tonic depends on the ratios and on the strength of your Gin. I calculate with a 1:3 mix, using 1.5oz of Gin with 40%.
Such a drink would contain 10 percent ABV (alcohol by volume), which reflects an average G&T pretty well.

How many calories are in a G&T?

To calculate calories, I again assume a ratio of 1:3. If you drink 1.5 oz of Gin, you're consuming 112 calories. The tonic water (Indian tonic) adds another 46 calories. So an average serving contains only 158 calories. You can reduce this to 132 calories by using light tonic water.

How do Gin and Tonic get called around the world?

Most English-speaking countries like the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, commonly name it Gin and Tonic.
In other countries, there's a slight variation in the name. Countries in Western Europe skip the "and" and call it Gin Tonic.
Japan also does this by naming it ジン・トニック - speaking "jin tonikku."

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