The Sipsmith Blog

How to Make a Summer-Ready Spanish Gin and Tonic

in Articles May 11, 2015
Spanish gin and tonic

Looking to get creative with your G&T mixing this season? It’s time to stir yourself up a Spanish gin and tonic.

Take a cue from Spain: it’s time to give our delicious G&T cocktail recipe something of a continental makeover. Crown yours with everything from cinnamon to Sichuan peppercorns, from rose petals to rosemary; serve it in a different glass designed to bring its botanicals to life; and enjoy your serve perfectly frosted all the way to the last sip. Read on for all the secrets behind the perfect Spanish gin and tonic.

For years, Spaniards have been serving their G&Ts in ways that the typical punter might find, shall we say, a bit surprising. For starters, theirs are poured in enormous copa de balon glasses instead of the classic highballs. They’re packed full of large, very cold ice cubes, so they last longer under that famous Spanish sun. And they come garnished with all kinds of ingredients that would be quite at home in your spice cabinet.

It’s not an accident that this groundbreaking new serve originated in Spain: the country is, after all, one of the biggest consumers of premium gin in the world. It also helps to have so many Michelin-starred chefs to hand – in fact, they’re the ones who are credited with creating this brand new G&T.


Take a cue from Spain: it’s time to give your humble G&T something of a continental makeover…

The evolution in the Spanish gin and tonic can be traced to the Basque region, which also happens to have the highest concentration of Michelin stars per capita in the world. The switch to serving G&Ts in wide-brimmed Bordeaux glasses was supposedly made by the region’s chefs, who were in the habit of enjoying several G&Ts after their busy shifts. The shape of the glassware allowed for more aroma, and for the botanicals to really shine through, while the increased dimensions meant you could fit in more ice – and keep your G&T colder for longer. More refreshing and more flavourful: it’s no wonder that this revolutionary new G&T serve quickly took off around the country.

Looking to try out a Spanish gin and tonic for yourself? There are a few things to keep in mind. The glass is the first point: it’s worth investing in a sturdy, tempered copa that won’t crack under the pressure from all that ice. You’ll want your ice cubes as large and as cold as can be – be sure to keep them in the freezer until the very last moment. Before making your G&T, fill your glass full of ice and give it a few spins with a barspoon to get it properly chilled, before tipping out any excess liquid.


… it’s worth investing in a sturdy, tempered copa that won’t crack under the pressure from all that ice…

Now, for the gin: given those larger dimensions, the average Spanish G&T has a serve of 50-70ml of gin. Add the gin to your ice-filled copa before topping off with tonic – but don’t just splash it in. Instead, place the barspoon back in your glass and pour the tonic, gently, down the length of the spoon, which ensures the carbonation stays in your glass longer.

And for the garnish? That may well be the most distinctive aspect of the Spanish gin and tonic, which is known to come topped with fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs selected to complement the botanical character of the gin. Feel free to experiment with your own aromatics, like whole nutmegs or cinnamon sticks…and you can’t go wrong with a simple lime twist. Salud!

Feature image © martiapunts/iStock/Thinkstock

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