Artist’s Gin and Tonic Cocktail: A delicious floral twist on a classic
There is something innately refreshing and reassuring about a good gin and tonic. At its core it is such a simple drink. Put some ice in a glass, pour over your gin, top up with tonic, throw in a garnish and enjoy. This inimitably English drink came about because back in the 18th century over in India, the English were dropping like flies from malaria. Quinine was found to be a cure but on its own was unpalatable until, in the early 19th century, some bright spark of a soldier mixed it with some effervescent water, their ration of gin, some sugar and lime juice. Et voila, the gin and tonic was born.
Since those early days of the gin and tonic there has been an explosion. Not only in the different styles and flavours of gins on the market, but also with their long term collaborator, tonic. Go into the drinks section of any self-respecting shop and you will be faced with umpteen different brands of tonics from the ultra budget right up to super premium. Not only that, but each brand also offers at minimum a standard and “light” version, more often than not a myriad of variations and flavours of tonic with nearly as much choice when it comes to botanicals as the gin itself has.
With all of this choice available when it comes to the base ingredients of a gin and tonic, this seemingly humble drink is elevated to one of near infinite choice and complexity. And that’s before you get anywhere near thinking about the garnish. With the right combination and ratio of gin and tonic, you end up with a drink of sublime smoothness and complexity where every flavour and botanical gets its moment to shine. Get it wrong, and you might as well be drinking toilet cleaner.
Once you have found out which brand of tonic you prefer and which of its flavours work with your favourite gins, then the world is your oyster when it comes to garnishing and adding extra ingredients to give your humble gin and tonic that little extra “va va voom”. My recommendation for a garnish would be to have a quick sip and consider what you have to hand that would work well with the flavours from the botanicals.
My personal favourite brands for tonics are Fever Tree and Merchant’s Heart and I always keep a good stock of Plain, Mediterranean and Peppercorn tonics in mini bottles or cans as these tend to work best with my preferred gins. Also, I find that I can replicate most of the other popular flavours; cucumber, elderflower, aromatic, rose petal, etc. with ingredients that I keep in my drinks cupboard or grow in my garden.
All of that finally leads us to the actual drink at the heart of this article; The Artist’s Gin and Tonic. As its name would suggest, this builds on the basic G&T by adding a couple of extra ingredients. The ingredients are Elderflower liqueur and cranberry juice. As always, I took the idea and made it my own. So without further ado, here is my version of the Artist’s Gin and Tonic that I enjoyed with a beautiful Romeo y Julieta Mille Fleur cigar and several more times since. My gin of choice was Whittaker’s Pink Particular and I used a Mediterranean tonic water by Fever Tree and garnished it with a slice of orange.
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ARTIST’S GIN AND TONIC COCKTAIL RECIPE
2 measures Gin
½ measure Elderflower Liqueur
1 measure Cranberry Juice
Mini can of Tonic Water
Garnish of your choice
Pour the first three ingredients into an ice filled copa glass and stir. Top up with the tonic, garnish and enjoy.