For how much I like gin, it's shocking I don't have any recipes using gin. I mostly drink gin on the rocks or just with a simple tonic water so it doesn't need a recipe. Although just a simple twist, elderflower adds a subtle but complex flavour to your traditional gin and tonic.
Using St. Germain, this cocktail is an ode to subtlety. With fresh cucumber, great quality gin and tonic water, it's the perfect (but simple) drink to impress your guests.
What Gin and Tonic Brands Should I Use?
While I was doing recipe testing, I found out that most mixologists use a ratio of 50mL of gin to 200mL of tonic water when mixing their drinks. With this simple 1:4 ratio for gin to tonic water, it's easy to scale up or down this recipe to make a big batch. This is approximate because an average jigger (how you measure a shot) is 44mL.
When I first started testing this recipe, I decided to give it a full and thorough testing (as I do) to determine if there's a significant difference between tonic waters. I tried the most popular brand I usually grab, Schweppes, and compared it to the luxury brand Fever Tree. To be completely honest, the taste was really similar. The only real difference is that I found Fever Tree to be both more carbonated, and to have smaller carbonation bubbles.
As an avid gin drinker, I'm partial to Romeo's Gin as my top favourite with Fils du Roy as a close second. I'm Canadian and realize not all of you have access to these gins so I tried a very popular and trendy gin, Empress 1908. Although watching the color change was really cool, the purple didn't look good with the cucumber garnish - if you don't care about looks, this is great. For accessible gin, I don't like Bombay and usually recommend Tanqueray or Hendricks.
Below is an Instagram story of me sampling the different gins and tonics. *Shameless plug* that I show tons of behind the scenes on my Instagram.
Want to try something different? Substitute the elderflower liqueur for jalapeño simple syrup for a spicy g&t!
Tips for the Best Gin and Tonic
1. Glass Choice
I'm big into saving money and not buying things you don't need - so the best glass is what you have. If you don't have any glasses or want to build out a collection made for gin, I recommend a highball glass as they allow for lots of ice and tonic water. For these photos I used a rocks glass as my partner has apparently broken all of our highball glasses. Pro tip: freeze your glass before mixing your drink for the coldest g&t.
2. Ice Ratio
If you're putting your glass and gin in the freezer but aren't using enough ice, your gin and tonic won't be cold enough. It's a reoccurring theme that one of the best ways to enjoy a gin and tonic is really, really cold. Pro tip: fill your glass up with ice as much as possible to avoid over-diluting your cocktail - more ice means it stays cold longer and therefore delay the ice melting.
3. Stir Your Drink
Place a long spoon into the bottom of your glass once it's filled with ice, gin and tonic. Stir it gently to combine all flavours and ensure that the drink is fully mixed with the ice.
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Elderflower Gin & Tonic
- 1 shot Gin or 44mL
- ¾ cup Tonic Water
- ½ shot Elderflower Liqueur or 22mL
- 1 cup Ice
- ½ English Cucumber sliced thin, optional
- 1 Lime cut into wedges
- Take your glass and gin and place it in the freezer 30 minutes to an hour before making your cocktail. This is optional but will yield best results.
- Fill an 8oz glass all the way with ice. I prefer a highball or rocks glass.
- Pour over 1 shot of gin and ½ shot of elderflower liqueur. Fill the rest of the glass with tonic water. If desired, but optionally, garnish with a sliced halved cucumber and a lime wedge.
- Serve immediately.