An Experts Guide To Crafting A Ridiculously Pleasant G&T
On the Australian National Day of Mourning I turned to the Queen for our toasting inspiration. I had vague memories we had something in common; she loved a gin, so I did a bit of (Google) research and it seems her favourite tipple was a Dubonnet (2 parts gin, 1 part Dubonnet Rouge) which was traditionally an ungarnished cocktail that lets the gin be the hero.
So as our Sydney Scoop public holiday tribute it seemed a good time to catch up with one of our Aussie gin heroes Sean Baxter of our most highly awarded Never Never Distilling Co. to find out a bit more about what I can do with my favourite white spirit.
For a simple, crisp summer classic, you can't go past a Gin & Tonic he explains. However, when it comes to crafting one that is ridiculously pleasant, it's not just your brand of choice that matters. Sure, if you're using gin that's better suited to strip paint, then your G&T won't exactly sparkle with flavour, but if you have at least a decent bottle of gin, it only makes sense to pair it with exceptionally good tonic and a garnish that doesn't just look pretty in your glass, but also enhances the flavour.
As much as we will always love a simple slice of lemon, experimenting with different garnishes and flavour profiles can show you a whole other side to one of the most iconic cocktails. The thing is, each fruit, herb or bark that we know (and use in gin) is made up of various compounds, and these compounds relate it to other flavours – some of them quite unexpected. According to Sean a simple trick to remember when it comes to garnish is that you can never go wrong with a herb & fruit combo for aroma and complexity. Likewise, a fruit pairing can impart subtle sweetness, acidity or a savoury character, which can further add to the dynamics of the cocktail, such as savoury herbs with sweet fruit for a unique balance. While orange is an obvious one, think outside the fruit box with the likes of peaches, cherries and lychees. These are all at their best at certain times of the year, so switch it up according to the seasons.
Highlighting the flavours in the gin is one way to go, and has been advocated with great success by some brands – who can look at a Hendrick’s bottle without thinking of a cucumber these days? But you can also try contrasting tastes. To start you on your flavour journey, here are some variations to step-up you drinks game:
Oyster Shell G&T
A perfect example of a sophisticated, citrus-forward coastal highball, Oyster Shell is an ingredient that delivers minerality and a subtle sea spray character to the gin. It's this flavour that shines in gin and tonic for the ultimate summer refresher.
30mL Never Never Dark Series Oyster Shell Gin
90mL Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic
Lime lead to garnish
Gin & Ginger
The Gin and Ginger (pictured) is an often overlooked pairing, perfect for citrus-forward gin styles that are able to stand up to the intense spiciness of quality ginger beer. The botanicals used in the gin, such as cinnamon and pepperberry, perfectly compliment the spicy backbone of ginger beer with the mint and lime brightening the aromas off the nose. As with any simple serve the quality of the ingredients is key to the success of the drink.
30ml Southern Strength Gin
100ml Fever Tree Ginger Beer
Lime wedge Ginger slice Fresh mint sprig
Triple Juniper G&T
Triple Juniper Gin is literally built for the gin and tonic serve and pairs perfectly with Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic water. Just remember, the ratio is everything, one part gin to three parts mixer is always a sure-fire winner.
30mL Triple Juniper Gin
100mL Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic water
Lemon wheel and lemon thyme to garnish
Ginache Gin & Lemon Tonic
You'll love this drink for its fruity and delicious taste; the ultimate summer cocktail. The freshness of the Ginache when paired with the citrus of the lemon tonic is guaranteed to make you thirsty at the thought of it.
30mL Ginache Gin
90mL Fever Tree Lemon Tonic Water
Lemon wedge to garnish
Honey & Grapefruit
While the Beeswax and Olive Gin was created with a martini in mind, it was quickly realised how delicious it was in a highball too! A delectable cocktail with the citrus tang of fresh grapefruit, simply add Fever Tree grapefruit soda for your new favourite summer drink.
30mL Beeswax and Olive Gin
100mL Pink Grapefruit Soda
Grapefruit wedge to garnish