Gin and Tonic balloon Glass

Gin and Tonic - Things you should know about this Highball

By Timo Torner / Last updated on September 23, 2022 

First published on May 30, 2021 

No Highball can beat a Gin and Tonic when it's done right. It's refreshing, versatile, and well-balanced. But what makes the perfect G&T?

You can make a Gin Tonic in your sleep? Possibly, but is it a perfect G&T? There certainly are some things you should pay attention to when mixing a G&T you want to make the best version of this popular drink.

This two-ingredient drink, a member of the Highball family, needs the correct ratio of ice and carbonation, a suitable garnish, botanicals, the matching tonic water, and, ultimately, the perfect Gin. So let's see how we can get there.

How to make the perfect Gin and Tonic

Making a perfect Gin and Tonic is art. From picking a quality Gin, selecting the matching tonic water, and adding botanicals that complement and enhance flavors to serving everything the right way.

Pouring the Gin first is a common way to prepare a Gin and Tonic, but I have another recommendation:

Fill your glass with ice first, then add a splash of tonic water. Now pour the Gin and fill everything up with the remaining tonic water. That is an easy way to mix this drink without actually stirring it.

But there's more:

The right ratio

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&Tonic - carbonation

Carbonation probably is the part of the Gin&Tonic that is the most under-appreciated. 

While everyone is talking about the best tonic water, the latest gin creation, the suitable botanicals, and the best garnish, no one speaks about the bubbles. Without them, every Gin&Tonic will become undrinkable.

Gin Tonic with lime

To avoid this, first, use only recently opened quality tonics. -The more pricey tonic waters usually have higher pressure and more carbonation.

Secondly, make sure every ingredient is chilled. Why? The carbonation gets lost a lot quicker in warm drinks. Keep your drink cool as long as possible. For that, put the Gin in the freezer, the tonic in the fridge, and chill the glass properly. 

The ice

Regarding the ice, large and clear ice cubes are a must. Not only because they look better but especially because quality ice is melting slower. 

The right Tonic water

Finding the perfect tonic water for a particular type or even brand of Gin is an art of its own that only a few have mastered. 

With six different categories of tonic water and a growing number of producers and brands, the options are sheer endless. Yet, two products we find suitable for most Gins are Fever Tree Indian Tonic and Fever Tree Mediterranian Tonic.

If you look for more detailed recommendations, go to the best tonic water for A G&T.

Which Gin for your G&T?

Well, that's entirely up to you. There's no such thing as an overall best Gin for a Gin and Tonic. There's not even a best type of Gin. However, we do have some favorites, like Bobby's Gin or Iron Balls.

For more recommendations, check out the list of our favorite Gins for a G&T.

Garnish for a Gin and Tonic

The classic garnish in Gin Tonic are either a slice of lemon, lime, or a cucumber wheel. In the US, lemon is the most common garnish, while the British prefer a slice of lime with their drink. 

Gin and Tonic with flowers

No matter which one is your favorite, it has to be fresh. A juicy fruit will add a perfect pinch of freshness to your drink - and flowers can also be a great choice.

Another option is to use botanicals as a garnish. A good idea is to smell your Gin and think about what could complement or enhance it. If nothing comes to your mind, check the list of botanicals used in the Gin.

Glassware

There's still something important missing for the perfect Gin and Tonic. The glassware! 

The drink is a Highball, and you can serve it in a classic Highball glass. While this is perfectly fine and not uncommon, there are some other options to consider.

Glasses for Gin and Tonic

I have two favorites: The first is bellied coppa glasses the second is heavy crystal glassware.

For a detailed list of our favorites, check out the best glasses for a perfect Gin and Tonic.

History of Gin and Tonic

The Dutch distilled the first version of Gin and named it after the main ingredient, juniper. Juniper translates to "jenever" in Dutch, or with a bit of influence from their French neighbors, to Genever

From Durch Genever to British Gin 

William III of England, also called William of Orange, exported Genever to England and then renamed it Gin.

During one of the Anglo-French wars in the 17th century, importing French products wasn't well-liked. The result was a severe spirit shortage in England, leading the British Parliament to enact the Distilling Act in 1690. 

Through this, the British were allowed to make their own Gin. And that's how it became more and more popular.

With another change of laws, the Tonnage Act of 1694, leading to customs clearance of beer, Gin got another big push. After this, especially the working class switched to this new spirit, starting the so-called "Gin Craze." 

Consumption peaked in the 18th century. Many people, even children, got addicted, forcing the government to restrict production and consumption. 

As a consequence, the Gin Acts were passed in 1729. After that, illegal distilleries got prosecuted, and selling Gin was only allowed under a license.

Why Gin and Tonic was mixed in the first place

In 1832 the quality of the spirit increased dramatically due to the development of the column still. That made it possible to distill pure alcohol. 

At the same time, British navy soldiers were fighting Malaria. To relieve symptoms, they had to take a bitter medicine called "Quinine." 

For this, powdered Quinine, extracted from the bark of the cinchona tree, was dissolved in water. While it certainly helped, it did taste awful. To improve the situation, soldiers mixed it with sugar and later also with soda water. And that's when Tonic water was born.

As this medicine still didn't taste too great, the British further improved it by adding Gin. 

In hindsight, it's crazy that a drink that is so popular today was a workaround to make medicine taste less awful. But there it was, the Gin and Tonic.

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) and reflects an average G&T pretty well.

Calories of a G&T

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

How Gin and Tonic gets 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 simply call it Gin Tonic. 

Japan also does this by naming it ジン・トニック - speaking "jin tonikku."

Gin and Tonic Recipe

Here's the basic recipe you can apply to almost combinations. And if you want to try something else, how about a pink fig-flavoured Gin and Tonic?

Gin Tonic recipe

Gin and Tonic

A refreshing Highball made with Gin and tonic water
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Keyword: Gin
Servings: 1
Calories: 162kcal
Cost: $2

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • 4.5 oz Tonic water
  • 1 slice Lemon
  • 1 sprig Rosemary

Instructions

  • Fill your glass with ice cubes.
  • Add a bit of tonic water, approx. 1 - 1.5 oz.
    4.5 oz Tonic water
  • Gently pur in the Gin followed by the rest of the tonic water.
    1.5 oz Gin, 4.5 oz Tonic water
  • Press some lemon juice into the drink and add the slice of lemon as well as a sprig of rosemary.
    1 slice Lemon, 1 sprig Rosemary

Nutrition

Serving: 6oz | Calories: 162kcal | Carbohydrates: 13.5g | Sodium: 19mg | Sugar: 13.5g | Calcium: 1.5mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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