In my particular world view I believe that we all must have grown up watching our fathers drinking gin and tonic. I would beg sips and drink his tonic water out of the fridge like most of us american kids guzzle soda pop. Don’t worry, I have made it my life’s mission to re-supply my father with a much better class of tonics and gins to drink replacing all those bottles that I swiped and more. I still drink straight tonic water from time to time as I love these flavors and find them soothing. As we all should be striving to drink better and better the old standard gin and tonic can also get better, much better.
The real leaps and bounds in the G&T evolution have come primarily from bartenders in Spain as Jason Wilson said, the Spanish are demanding fancier and more inventive G&Ts and the Spanish bartenders are responding with drinks that look more like Cesar salads than cocktails, I was lucky enough to go to a seminar at Tales of the Cocktail where the Spanish “Perfect Serve” was demoed. An enormous wine glass was filled with giant chunks of ice, gin and fever tree tonic but it was garnished with gin infused grapes and was even topped with gorgeous a port wine foam. I didn’t know to order G&Ts when I was in Madrid three years ago but I wish that I had.
Jason’s article also mentions some of the fancy bars who are now making their own tonics. Bittercube and a few others produce tonic syrups and new tonics are becoming available. I hope that these new products become more plentiful rather than the rare finds that they currently are. Some of these “craft” tonic syrups and bar made tonics are sometimes criticized as being a little too esoteric and not enough like the bottled tonics we are used to. I however am intrigued by the difference and embrace the potential for trying these new and different flavors. The bottled syrups offer an option to traditional tonic and some additional control for the craft cocktail bartender.
I think the next evolution of the Gin and Tonic is a further deconstruction beyond even these crafty concepts. I am now enjoying my G&Ts built from the ground up. I start with simple syrup or a sugar cube and add gin and my own Boy Drinks World Tonic Bitters. I then add ice, club soda and garnish. This way I can control the sugar content and the strength of the quinine for a highly customizable spin on a classic. I hope my bartender friends will really appreciate this level of control.