I’ve enjoyed this venture into cocktail making but can I share something with you? I don’t drink a lot…no, really I don’t! I come from a family with a history of alcoholism and as a result I’m as cautious as any one person could be to be aware of my drinking habits. So…do I drink the cocktails I make for these posts? Not always. I only make cocktails that I already know I enjoy or if it’s something new that I’m happy with and consider blogworthy, then I have definitely tasted the end result but depending on the time of day, that might be all I enjoy. If they’re made later in the day and photographed I just might enjoy a tipple…but not two. Until last night.
I simply LOVE gin and tonics and throwing anything with Bombay Sapphire Gin into the sink was not going to happen. Can you blame me? Despite last night’s forecast of potential snow (not all that unusual for spring in Denver), yesterday was a gorgeous spring day and I definitely think of a Gin and Tonic as one of my favorite warm weather cocktails. Light and so refreshing with just a touch of citrus from fresh lime juice, it’s just a perfect warm weather cocktail.
Gin was first created by Dr. Franciscus Sylvus, a Dutch chemist, in the 16th century. Originally developed in an attempt to cleanse the blood of those suffering from kidney disorders, Dr. Sylvus named his creation genièvre, French for juniper, the primary botanical that is a part of the distilling process. When King William III used his grudge against France to ban expensive liquor imports from there, mass production of gin in England made it affordable and that made it easier for the Brits to deal with the ban.
Gin is a light-bodied liquor made of a mash of cereal grain, typically corn, rye, barley and wheat. The main flavor and aroma notes are still contributed by juniper berries. Different gins use their own variety of additional botanicals; for the Bombay Sapphire Gin used in this cocktail, those include almonds, angelica, lemon peel, coriander, liquorice, cassia bark, cubeb berries, iris root, grains of paradise and of course, juniper berries. Manufacturers cannot, by law, qualify their gin by age. Because this is a very simple cocktail; the type of gin that is used can make a huge difference. I noticed one writer say it was NOT the drink to use Bombay Sapphire for…but that is personal preference as I prefer the less dry and more floral notes; so use what YOU love; that is the only gin to use! I don’t limit my gin and tonics to just one brand, I also love Tanqueray and Tonic and was lucky enough last year to see a local gin I love in production when I visited 303 Distillery so have to give a shout out to Rob’s Mountain Gin!
The gin and tonic actually came about because of malaria. Centuries ago, when malaria was a problem in warmer climates, quinine was used to treat the disease and tonic water was developed as a vehicle for the quinine. In the 18th century, tonic water contained a large amount of quinine resulting in a bitter taste and gin was added to make it more palatable. Since it is no longer used as an antimalarial treatment, tonic water today is usually sweetened and contains much less quinine and as a result is much less bitter. Like the gin; using a quality tonic water does make a difference; I know, I’ve tried using cheaper store brands but the truth is I prefer Schweppes. Some may scoff at it’s use, but I like that I can serve this cocktail with a sugar free version as well. For friends serious about cutting those corners, it allows them to enjoy a cocktail with me and for that I say…Cheers!
Gin and Tonic – A Quintessentially Classic Summer Cocktail
A classic and rightfully so; a simple and refreshing cocktail for summer.
- Two lime quarters
- 1 part gin, preferably Bombay Sapphire or Beefeater's
- 4 parts tonic water
- Fill a lowball or highball glass with ice
- Pour gin over ice and squeeze the juice from one section of lime into glass.
- Fill with tonic water, stir and garnish with another lime quarter.