Even when served plain and simple, as it has for decades, the classic gin & tonic has remained a highflyer in the cocktail world’s popularity contests. But to celebrate International Gin and Tonic Day, which falls on the 9th April this year, we want to take the humble G&T to the next level. Elevating that trademark botanical hit (with a bitter twist of a finish) into an explosion of flavours, join us as we add everything from coriander and cinnamon to strawberries and black pepper. Try to remember your favourite combinations, which you can ask at The Leopard Bar in the Rubens or The Chesterfield Mayfair on your next visit.
Strawberry and black pepper
Some garnishes were born to be so much more. Strawberries and black pepper fit into this category neatly. Let the squishy red sweetness bleed into the tonic, before mixing the black flecks and soon you’ll be sampling a perfect mix of spicy sweetness.
Coriander and cinnamon
Gins, with all their botanicals, tend to react remarkably well to generous servings of cinnamon. So, upgrade your G&T with a cinnamon shaker, before adding some coriander to emphasise the freshness of your creation.
Rosemary and pink grapefruit
Rosemary’s pine notes combine perfectly with the sharpness of the pink grapefruit to create a G&T heavyweight. Add sherry for a lick of sweetness, though most prefer it without.
Apple juice and elderflower
If these ingredients sound suspiciously familiar, you’ve spotted a well-known cocktail in this line-up: yes, it’s the English Garden. Made of dry apple juice, elderflower pressé and lime juice, this is one of the most popular gin cocktails in the world.
Bramble, cherry and basil
Take the classic bramble, a handful of cherries and incorporate it into a G&T; before long you’ll have a liqueur that tastes like a tart – a bit like sloe gin. Now bruise some purple basil (of “Basil Smash” fame) and add a hint of the garden to your mauve delight.
We’ve all heard of espresso martinis, Irish coffees, and black Russians, but what of a coffee G&T? The key is to mix cold-press coffee with tonic first, only adding gin in small parts, because whilst its bitterness compliments the concoction at the start, it can ruin it if taken too far.
In vogue, ever since Heston Blumenthal put it in his gin, Earl Grey’s bergamot orange notes, soften the juniper pinch of countless gins. Add lots of lemon for an ice-tea sensation.
In parts of the west country, they’re adding ginger, candied rhubarb and sugar-snap peas to their G&Ts. Though this may sound like an odd way to get your “five-a-day” and a tad savoury to boot, the vegetable G&T is all about its mysterious hints of the fifth tasting dimension: umami.