The Gin and Tonic recipe is easy and straightforward, with a long history. The refreshing drink is made of one part gin and three parts tonic water. 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, and the way to the best ways to garnish it.
Quick Facts Gin & Tonic
- Method: blended, built in glass
- Flavor profile: sweet, slightly bitter, junipery, refreshing
- How to serve it: over ice cubes, garnished with botanicals
- Glassware: Highball glass or Balloon glass
- Alcohol content: ~ 10% ABV, 11.67 grams of alcohol per serving
Learn how to mix this refreshing two-component summer drink and how to serve it to your guests.
- 1 Jigger
- 1 Bar spoon
- 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
Gin and Tonic FAQs
The ideal ratio of tonic water 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.
Ingredients to make a perfect Gin and Tonic
The key to a great Gin and Tonic recipe is the perfect balance of ingredients. You want just the right amount of bitter flavor from the tonic water paired with the botanical notes of Gin to create the best Gin and Tonic possible.
If you get that right, you can even highlight the distinct flavors of a gin, by garnishing it with botanicals that either emphasize its ingredients or complement them.
Here's what you'll need to make a refreshing Gin and Tonic:
- Gin - There's no ultimate best choice for this classic gin cocktail recipe. Depending on the type of Gin you use, the taste and character of the drink will vary. Classic 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. The best choice of tonic water always depends on the gin you use. Here's a great guide to finding the ideal tonic water in a Gin and Tonic.
- 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. So rather opt for more quality ice in your drink to prevent it from watering down too quickly.
- 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.
How to serve it
To serve a Gin and Tonic in style, 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 of 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.
The Gin and Tonic history is full of tales and legends. For example, the most common story of how the cocktail was invented is that British Navy soldiers developed it as a form of Malaria prevention. Allegedly, they combined their bitter-tasting tonic water with gin to make it taste better.
However, a 2004 study shows that this story is most likely untrue. There is also no real evidence to support this theory. based on historical documents, it's more likely that the early Gin and Tonic was a refreshing drink mostly consumed in tropical climates.
Multiple sources indicate that the drink was most likely invented in India and not by soldiers of the Royal British Navy.
Gin and Tonic Variations
- The Pink Fig Gin and Tonic is a variation of the classic Gin Tonic recipe that is sweetened with homemade fig syrup.
- Our Aperol Gin & Tonic recipe adds complexity to the drink by bringing the popular 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.
- Gin and Tonic with bitters. In case you need more flavor in your cocktail, consider adding aromatic bitters to your G&T.
- Add coffee to your Gin and Tonic. Our Espresso Gin Tonic brings caffeine to your drink in form of an espresso shot.
- Use your own tonic water. Follow our recipe to make your own homemade tonic syrup recipe. To use it in your Gin and Tonic, add a bit of the syrup and combine it with chilled soda water.