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How to Make the Perfect Gin and Tonic

This guide will provide you with the secrets to making the perfect gin and tonic every time.

This guide will provide you with the secrets to making the perfect gin and tonic every time.

I have a claim to fame: I am an expert gin-smith. I can pour a gin and tonic that rivals all others. How do I know this? I have been pouring this particular bevy since a very tender age—not for me, for my parents (No, they are not alcoholics; they simply drink like Irish people. Why? Because they are Irish people!).

The simple fact is that once I pour a gin and tonic, the receiver of my alcoholic delight is lost for words . . . well, other than asking for another one, that is. I am always elected the chief gin-and-tonic-maker, and I am persistently told that no one makes a G&T quite like me! And, of course, I totally agree. I am the proud owner of a gin-and-tonic-only fridge, which, of course, only ever has those precious ingredients cooling in it. I even have special glasses, an ice bucket, tongs, and a measure. In fact, I even have a T-shirt; no, I really do. It bears the words "I make the best G&T."

I know, I know, you're wondering, "How do you make this delightful tipple?" Boys and girls, let me share.

A little TLC, of course.

  • T for tonic
  • L for lime
  • C for cubes of ice

I am pretty sure you're getting the idea that this is my signature drink for a good reason. But, hey, don't take my word for it. Try out my recipe and my method, and let the result speak for itself.

The Perfect Gin and Tonic Recipe

Firstly, please make sure your measure is void of all other liquids. I recently had the misfortune of finding my G&T tainted by olive oil. Said guest now knows where the teaspoons are and is eternally banned from ever, ever making me a G&T again. It's absolute madness to use an alcoholic measure for anything else other than measuring alcohol. If you do this, stop it now.


  • Gordon's gin (my fav) or a good-quality gin, straight from the fridge
  • Cold tonic water (It has to be Schweppes and it has to be fresh; cans are best)
  • Ice cubes (frozen to within an inch of their life, not just made an hour ago)
  • Fresh, juicy lime slices or wedges
  • A clean slim jim or highball glass
  • A 50 ml measure


  1. Rub your lime wedge lightly around the rim of your slim jim or highball (always make sure your glasses are exceptionally clean).
  2. Squeeze a little juice from the lime wedge into your glass before dropping the wedge in.
  3. Add four large ice cubes.
  4. Pour in 50 ml of cold Gordon's gin and top with cold Schweppes tonic.
  5. Take a moment to savor the image of your perfect G&T.

Bartender's Tips

  • Dry Limes?: If your limes are a little on the dry side, put them in the microwave for a few seconds. This will soften the skin and release more juice.
  • Cool Your Glasses if It's Hot Out: In the summer months, put your slim jim glasses in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before you need them. A cold glass will prevent your ice cubes from melting too quickly and prevent your gin from becoming watery.
A highball glass—perfect for gin and tonics.

A highball glass—perfect for gin and tonics.

Don't Be Afraid to Experiment With Other Gins

Once you have mastered the perfect Gordon's gin and tonic, you might like to graduate and stretch your imagination.

  • Bombay Sapphire: Try Bombay Sapphire instead of Gordon's. It is more expensive, however. I pay about 18€ here. However, for those of you that like a smoother alcohol, Bombay Sapphire is indeed a smooth liquid and is a good gin for your tonic. This bevy also needs to be served cold. Follow the guidelines for the G&T, replacing Gordon's with the Bombay.
  • Hendrick's: Another solid gin is Hendrick's, and it has a mild cucumber flavor. This bevy is very good served with crushed ice and sliced cucumber. In fact, this gin is so smooth, you can enjoy Hendrick's without the tonic. Do remember that if you choose to leave the tonic in the fridge, your staying power will be a little on the short side, so take it easy. The downside for me with this smooth cucumber is the cost. A bottle of Gordon's gin sets me back about 9€, while Hendrick's is about 30€. That is pretty expensive for me. Perhaps for a special occasion, the cost is worth it.

A Note About Hendrick's: There is one other thing I must mention about Hendrick's—not everyone likes the flavor. (It even says so on the bottle: not that people don't like it, but that it's a particular flavor.) It seems an acquired taste is necessary. I have found that I have the necessary acquirement, the taste that is.

At least you know what to buy me for my birthday! Yep! A bottle of Hendrick's or, to be honest, three bottles of Gordon's would be just perfect.

Gordon's is my favorite gin.

Gordon's is my favorite gin.

© 2010 Gabriel Wilson