Let me guess, you came into this period of self-isolation with enough Tonic Water to float the British navy and you’ve probably already drunk enough G&Ts to ward off every mosquito on the planet. And by the sounds of things, we still have several months to go.
Now that most of us are housebound with, let’s face it, a little bit too much time on our hands, the art of mixing gin with tonic is probably starting to become a bit routine.
But what’s a G&T drinker to do? Sure, you could buy every gin on the planet and make a detailed chart as to the tasting notes with every type of tonic (please don’t … no … this is not a suggestion), or you could branch out a bit and realise that there is more to tonic than just this one spirit.
Yes, Virginia, there really is life beyond the standard G&T and we’re here to show you that the world has provided some pretty good options.
Now before we get going, we thought this was a good opportunity to do the obligatory safety talk. And by that, we mean we want you to ignore every rumour you may have heard about Tonic helping in this time of Corona. Don’t get us wrong, it certainly won’t do you any harm, but as Fever-Tree has been quick to point out it won’t do you any particular good either when it comes to the virus.
Fever-Tree on their US website has stated: “In recent days, we have been receiving increasing numbers of questions from consumers asking whether there is a similarity to the quinine we use in our tonic waters and hydroxychloroquine, a common anti-malarial drug that, in some quarters, has been touted as a possible “miracle drug” in the fight against COVID-19.
“There is no proven scientific evidence that quinine or hydroxychloroquine can protect against or treat COVID-19. Anti-malaria drugs contain a significantly higher amount of quinine than tonic water so we would not advise using our tonic water for anything other than making a delicious drink to keep your spirits up during this difficult time.”
So with that out of the way, let’s take the advice of Fever-Tree and make some rather delicious drinks with Tonic and explore what can be made beyond just a simple G&T.
Let’s make our first stop in France with a nice drop of Cognac.
Reminiscent of a Japanese Highball, a Cognac and Tonic, will offer a nice complexity that starts with apple and citrus aromas. For this you will want to be looking towards a relatively young Cognac, so a VS is preferable.
Then on to Italy
The combination of an aperitif like Cynar with your tonic may not be an obvious choice, but the fruity and earthy bitterness of this liqueur will soon have you hooked. With herbal and sweet vanilla aromas and a delicate smoky flavour, this combination is a bit of a game-changer.
Then we are back to France for an aperitif at the other end of the scale.
Lillet’s original formula was actually designed around quinine, so really this aromatized wine make the perfect pairing for Tonic Water. With the Blanc, a little lemon Juice can bring it to life, while with the Rosé, Lime Juice is a better choice, especially if you add some summer berries.
Then onto the Caribean, so as to mix your Tonic with Rum
If you have always thought that Rum was a little too sweet, then Tonic is here to balance out those cloying notes. No matter what style of rum (white, golden or dark) Tonic will bring out some of the more delicate flavours, while the addition of a little Lime will definitely round everything out.
Now we’re off to the south – down Mexico way.
Heralded as the G&T for the cool kids, a well balanced T&T can truly bring out all the floral, spice and citrus notes of Tequila. As we did with Cognac, we recommend that you stick to the younger examples, so preferably a Blanco but a Reposado can also work quite well. And yet again, this is another example where Lime Juice is definitely your friend.
No matter which spirit you choose to pair with Tonic, there really is a whole world of flavour outside of a simple gin combination. So, since you probably have the time, why not raid the booze cabinet and see what you can come up with to take your long drink game over the finish line.