Remember when the most common G&T garnish debate centred around one question: lemon or lime? While today, in part influenced by the garnish-heavy Spanish G&T culture – we tend to top the timeless tipple with all manner of culinary and botanical ingredients.
From herbs and spices to fruit and vegetables, there are myriad options for the adventurous home bartender looking for creative gin cocktail recipes. Mix up your perfect G&T in a highball glass or grab a Spanish-style Copa de Balon – this wide goblet gives unusual G&T garnishes plenty of room to infuse.
Simply combine a measure of our London Dry Gin and chilled, premium tonic water, before adding your garnish of choice to complement the classic cocktail.
Lavender is so much more than your auntie’s preferred soap scent. In moderation, lavender is warm and wildly aromatic – the perfect choice if you like your gin and tonic on the floral side. Take it one step further with edible flowers for a visually impressive garnish.
Powerful, robust rosemary makes for a deliciously savoury G&T garnish. Thanks to the herb’s piney flavour profile, it also plays very well alongside the juniper. Try it for yourself in an ultra-refreshing Botanical G&T. Once mixed, place two rosemary sprigs in your palm and clap to release the oils, then add to the glass to garnish.
3. CINNAMON STICKS
The sweet spice of cinnamon is a potent flavour addition to your G&T, so be sure to use a gin that can hold its own, such as our London Dry Gin. Just don’t be tempted to use your cinnamon as a swizzle stick – you don’t want your G&T becoming under-carbonated after a few idle stirs.
Add extra spice by following our homemade cinnamon syrup recipe, which is a delicious ingredient in our winter warmer – a Spiced Apple Collins.
Peppercorns are commonly seen in Spanish G&Ts, bobbing amid the ice cubes. Give your G&T a savoury kick with the addition of black peppercorns and pair them with strawberries for a summery twist, or opt for the numbing heat of Sichuan peppercorns for a truly unusual gin and tonic garnish.
5. STAR ANISE
Not only is star anise an incredibly versatile spice – it works well in both sweet and savoury contexts, and has a bit of a menthol kick to it – but it’s also one of the most eye-catching. Drop a few in your glass for a G&T that’s pretty as a picture.
Some detractors have accused Spanish-style G&Ts of looking like salads, and the addition of tomatoes won’t do anything to convince them otherwise. But, when paired with a few basil leaves – slapped against the back of your hand to release aroma – nothing is more summery. The perfect accompaniment to an afternoon picnic or al fresco evening meal.
7. LEMON THYME
Swap the classic lemon twist for a few sprigs of lemon thyme – the end result should be equal parts lemony and herbaceous.
And for extra zest, stir up a Lemon Drizzle G&T that’s bursting with citrus notes thanks to our Lemon Drizzle Gin featuring sweet, sundried lemon peel, lemon verbena and vapour-infused fresh lemons.
When we want to turn up the heat, we reach for a fresh chilli garnish. Spice up a classic with a Chilli & Lime G&T made with our limited-edition Chilli & Lime Gin, which is a perfect marriage between fresh lime and a blend of seven fruity and complex chillies.
Combine 50ml Sipsmith Chilli & Lime Gin and 150ml chilled Indian tonic water in a tall glass that’s filled with ice, then garnish with a fresh chilli and fresh lime wedge.
Looking for a G&T garnish that’s lightly sweet, delicate and floral? Apple should be your garnish of choice, arranged in a delicate fan. Be sure to spritz with a bit of lemon juice to prevent it from browning.
An apple is also the featured garnish in our Gin & (Apple) Juice recipe, that can be found in our gin cocktail book SIP.
Add a tropical touch to your G&T with a few lemongrass stalks, but first strip away the tough exterior layers to reveal the tender and fragrant core. Complement with a handful of coriander for an extra dose of freshness.
11. PINK GRAPEFRUIT
Thanks to its sweetness, acidity and hint of bitterness, grapefruit is the perfect partner to tonic. Taking the essential ingredients for a G&T, and adding a couple of delicious citrus juices, our recipe for a Sharing Gin Paloma is guaranteed to get any garden party started.
Once you’ve made the perfect pitcher of Paloma, resist the temptation to pour immediately and take a few seconds to prepare your guests’ individual serves. Simply moisten the rim of each glass with a little pink grapefruit juice, then dip in a saucer of salt to create a salted rim. Then garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Strawberry isn’t just a delicious gin garnish on its own – it also plays well with a number of other ingredients, from basil and pepper to elderflower and mint. Choose your own combination – there are no wrong answers.
To get you started, why not serve up a summer-infused and Wimbledon-inspired Strawberry Smash Gin G&T, which is made with 50ml Sipsmith Strawberry Smash Gin and 150ml premium tonic water, and garnished with freshly sliced strawberries.
If you’re a true juniper obsessive, then why not add even more to your G&T? A small handful of juniper berries is your secret weapon in a V.J.O.P. and Tonic. Alternatively, embrace summer berries by dropping them into a Rose G&T that features a deliciously fragrant floral twist due to the addition of rose syrup.
Gin and tonic garnishes don’t get much more British than rhubarb (paired with London Dry Gin, naturally). Fruity and with a touch of tartness, it’s a natural in a G&T. Take a vegetable peeler to your rhubarb stalk for beautiful crimson ribbons that you can swirl along the inside of your glass, like in a London Calling cocktail. And if you have an abundance of rhubarb, you can even try your hand at making your own rhubarb gin liqueur.
What about a garnish that also doubles as an ice cube but won’t lead to over-dilution? Then add a few frozen peach wedges to your next G&T.
If you’re feeling especially inspired, why not embrace a few home-grown garnishes? From herb-infused creations to kitchen garden concoctions, we’re delighted to share green-fingered inspiration.
Let us know your favourite gin garnish by tagging us on social media @sipsmith. Looking for more ginny cocktail inspiration? Find more below.