2 oz Leopold’s Gin
3-4 oz Tonic Water
Combine Gin and Tonic in a collins glass with crushed ice.
Squeeze in lime. Stir.
Serve with a straw if desired.
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Recently, the wife and I were discussing desert island drinks — more to the point, which mixed drink we’d choose if we could only have one for the rest of our lives. While I’m a fan of many different drinks, if you put a gun to my head and forced me to choose, I’d pick the Gin and Tonic.
Chief among my reasons would be the G&T’s ability to quench my thirst. Apart from great dry Champagne, nothing else does it finer — which is a point not to gloss over too quickly. If you really need to quench your thirst, avoid sugar. The drier the drink is, the more it’ll do the trick. On this point, the G&T succeeds famously, and you’ll do yourself a favor to seek out a premium Tonic Water like Fever-Tree, which use real sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup. Sugar is less sweet than corn syrup, and quite frankly, if you’re pouring good gin, why dilute it with something less than worthy?
Next comes the basic lesson in mixological chemistry which the G&T teaches us. Not all spirits — even those of the same stripe — are created equal. Take for example two gins — Tanqueray and Gordon’s — made by the same company. Tanqueray is much higher in proof than Gordon’s. It’s important to know this when deciding how much tonic to add. The proper gin-to-tonic ratio is a matter of personal taste (I like 2 parts Gin to 3 parts Tonic), but if you’re using an unfamiliar bottle, be sure to check the proof first and adjust as merited.
I also appreciate that, on some self-delusional level, I can convince myself that a Gin and Tonic is good for me. As long as I’m drinking them in the comfort of my Los Angeles home, I feel suitably protected from the dangers of malaria and scurvy. Remember, this is desert island conjecture.
Above all, however, is the simple, magical symphony of ingredients. The botanicals of the Gin, the bite of the Tonic, the crisp brace of lime. Every sip is a reminder that the best things in life are often far from the sweetest. It’s something to keep in mind when it comes to cocktails and to life in general — especially when you’re sitting on a sandy beach somewhere in the middle of the Pacific, awaiting rescue.
Esoterica: The origins of the Gin and Tonic come from the very example of colonialism — the British Raj. While they were in the East, the British discovered that quinine was affective at keeping malaria at bay. Indian Tonic Water soon became the accepted way to get your quinine dose, and because of tonic’s harsh taste, the ever-resourceful Brits discovered that it went down much easier with a spoonful of gin.
The traditional accent of lime comes from the British rationing of citrus to its sailors and troops in an effort to prevent scurvy.
Heck, it’s almost unhealthy not to drink them.