A combination of just three ingredients, bar the garnish – London Dry Gin, tonic and ice – a perfectly made gin and tonic is one of life’s great pleasures. After a weekend spent celebrating the fantastic gin festival that is International Gin & Tonic Day, we look at the curiously complex history of this simple yet distinctive cocktail, explain why our London Dry Gin is the perfect tonic-match and suggest a few autumnal variations on the original.
The G & T: A Juniper Journey
Gin originated in 16th century Holland, where a juniper-based-spirit (invented by Dr. Sylvius de Bouve) was first prescribed as a medicinal treatment. This remedy turned into the popular Dutch sip, Jenever, which made its way across the Channel and evolved into the popular affordable tipple, gin. Gin became ubiquitous, with an incredible 11 million gallons being consumed by Londoners alone in 1750, before a series of laws curbed the grim period known as the ‘Gin Craze’. By the mid-19th century, gin came to be considered a gentleman’s drink.
In 1857 the British Crown took over governance of India, with officers heading to the tropical region, where they encountered a new malady: malaria. Fortunately, by drinking a daily ‘tonic’ (a mixture of quinine powder from the South American Cinchona, or ‘fever tree’, and water) the disease was kept at bay.
This muddy looking concoction was bitter and harsh, however, and Brits soon discovered that the addition of gin, sugar, ice, and citrus made the cure much more palatable. And, as a bonus, the inclusion of citrus fruits prevented scurvy on long sea voyages to and from the colonies.
Brits soon discovered that the addition of gin, sugar, ice, and citrus made the cure much more palatable
Sipsmith’s London Dry Gin – The Perfect Match
“If you look at the ingredients of gin, you can see a partial map of the empire,” explains Sipsmith’s Master Distiller, Jared Brown. “Where the sailors had rum rations, the officers were given gin, so it made it round the world on British naval ships,” he continues. With this in mind, it’s unsurprising that Sipsmith’s London Dry Gin has a truly ecumenical flavour profile – with coriander, cinnamon, orange, lemon and cassia, all native to foreign climes – complimenting the G & T’s exotic heritage perfectly.
If you look at the ingredients of gin, you can see a partial map of the empire
Almost three centuries after its creation, it seems that the golden age of the G&T is finally upon us, as thankfully modern-day tonic is much-refined, containing a greatly reduced quantity of quinine, an exquisite flavour profile and a refreshingly light fizz. So, grab your bottle of London Dry Gin, some Fever-Tree tonic and pour the two together over ice for the ultimate, timeless aperitif.
The Classic Gin and Tonic
Fever Tree® Indian Tonic
Wedge of lime (to garnish)
Pour the gin over a highball full of ice and top with tonic before garnishing with a fresh wedge of lime.
Zesty Orange G & T
Fever Tree® Indian Tonic
Wheel of orange (to garnish)
Fill a thin-rimmed highball glass to the top with ice cubes. Add Sipsmith® Orange & Cacao Gin and tonic before garnishing with a wheel of orange.
Winter Gin and Tonic
25ml Sipsmith® Sloe Gin
Fever Tree® Indian Tonic Water
Fresh orange wedge (to garnish)
Pack a highball glass with ice, before pouring in the gin and tonic. Garnish with a fresh wedge of orange.
The Pink Sip
50ml Sipsmith® Sloe Gin
150ml Fever Tree® Sicilian Lemon Tonic Water / bitter lemon
Fresh slice of lemon or orange (to garnish)
Take a highball and pile it high with ice before adding a hearty serve of Sipsmith® Sloe Gin. Top with Fever Tree® Sicilian Lemon Tonic Water, or bitter lemon, and finish with a slice of citrus.
V.J.O.P. and Mediterranean Tonic
Fever Tree® Mediterranean Tonic Water
A sprig of rosemary wrapped in orange peel (to garnish)
Load a tall highball with ice cubes; pour in Sipsmith® V.J.O.P. Gin; top with Fever-Tree® Mediterranean Tonic Water and top with a sprig of rosemary wrapped in orange peel.
Lemon Drizzle G & T
Fever-Tree® Mediterranean Tonic Water
Fresh slice of lemon (to garnish)
Pour Sipsmith® Lemon Drizzle Gin into an ice-filled highball, top with Fever-Tree® Mediterranean Tonic Water and garnish with a slice of lemon.