Marisa Chafetz / Supercall

Entertaining
Around the World in 5 Gin & Tonics

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The Gin & Tonic has always been a global cocktail. First popularized by the soldiers of the British Raj who created it as a means of choking down malaria-preventing quinine, the cocktail was soon adopted by the U.K. population at large, and not long after made its way to the United States. But during the past few years, the simple, two-ingredient cocktail has taken on an even more global look, with bartenders from all corners of the Earth putting their own spin on the classic drink.

Why does a basic, two-ingredient cocktail have such worldwide appeal? In part, it’s because of the cocktail’s simplicity. “While people do occasionally mess up the G&T, it is also pretty easy to get it right—you don't have to be in a World’s Top 100 Bar to make a good G&T,” says Jake Burger, master distiller of Portobello Road Gin and director of the Ginstitute in London. And it’s also thanks to the recent worldwide gin boom. “Gin is hot at the moment everywhere in the world,” says French expat Nico de Soto of NYC’s Mace (along with Danico in Paris and Kaido in Miami). “The great number of different style gins you can find now intrigue and excite both bartenders and customers.”

It’s a blank canvas of a cocktail upon which bartenders can paint their countries’ flags. And, lucky for G&T lovers, you don’t have to buy an around-the-world plane ticket to sample the drinks. Here, five Gin & Tonic variations from countries around the globe that you can make at home.

Marisa Chafetz / Supercall
The British started it all. They were the ones to add gin to tonic and make cocktail history. They were also the first to create a gin-themed hotel. The Distillery in London, founded by the folks behind Portobello Road Gin, houses multiple gin bars, the Ginstitute (a center for gin education) and even a gin museum. It is a true temple of gin. At GinTonica, the hotel’s tapas bar, Burger created a full menu of G&Ts. None of them are like the Gin & Tonics of his youth, though. “The first time a drop of gin found its way into tonic I don’t recall,” he says. “But like most people of a certain age, it was probably Gordon’s gin and Schweppes tonic with a slice of lemon and not enough ice.” His nouveau British G&T embraces the country’s international outlook on the cocktail. Made with Portobello Road Gin (a classic, quintessentially British, London Dry style gin), Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water and a quartet of garnishes (grapefruit twist, basil leaf, juniper berries and ground coriander seed), it’s served in a Spanish-style copa with, per Burger, lots of ice—presumably to make up for those first few G&Ts of his youth, and also to keep dilution to a minimum. The drink is, after all, all about the gin. So you don’t want to miss any of those ultra-British juniper flavors.

The Essentials

Portobello Road Gin
Tonic Water
Grapefruit Twist
Marisa Chafetz / Supercall
If the British kicked off the Gin & Tonic craze, then the Spanish headed the ball in for a goal. The country has embraced the cocktail as its own with cities like Barcelona and Madrid housing many G&T-focused bars. You can thank Spain for the massive goblets (aka copas) now synonymous with Gin & Tonics. And you can also thank the country’s bartenders for going beyond the lemon or lime wedge. The Spanish G&T features the garnish almost as much as it does the gin and tonic. In Barcelona, Bobby Gin is a Gin & Tonic lover’s paradise. Airy and comfortable, set on a narrow cobblestone street, the bar offers a menu of G&Ts and will also craft one specifically catered to your tastes. And, while the rest of the world is only just now adopting the giant glass and aromatic garnishes, Bobby Gin is already taking the cocktail to the next level with the GinFonk series. “In the traditional Gin and Tonic, a flavor is added at the end by using a garnish like fruits, spices, etc,” says bar manager Alberto Pizarro. “With the GinFonk, we use this idea of adding a flavor by mixing the gin with a liqueur and citrus in the glass.” The Modernessia GinFonk features Spanish-made Modernessia Gin, goji berry liqueur, Aperol, lemon juice and hibiscus-flavored tonic water. It’s bright and citrusy, floral and a little bitter, but undeniably a Gin & Tonic.

The Essentials

Modernessia Gin
Goji Berry Liqueur
Hibiscus Tonic Water
Marisa Chafetz / Supercall
Thanks to their close proximity to Spain and the U.K., the French have also caught the Gin & Tonic bug. They’re no strangers to gin production, with Citadelle and G’vine leading the way, and other smaller producers on the up and up. For his French-style G&T, De Soto took a culinarian approach, infusing an important part of French life into the cocktail: breakfast. “A Gin and Tonic can be approached as a base on which you can experiment with flavors from cuisine,” he says. He fat-washes French-made Citadelle Gin with brown butter. “It reminds me of the smell of a warm croissant in the morning,” he says. “And don’t forget what comes with the morning croissant—coffee.” De Soto adds cold brew coffee and a little vanilla syrup to his unique G&T, then garnishes it with a long swath of lemon zest and coffee beans.

The Essentials

Brown Butter Fat-Washed Citadelle Gin
cold brew coffee
Tonic Water
Marisa Chafetz / Supercall

All the way on the other side of the world, the Gin & Tonic has found an instant home in Australia. “The Gin and Tonic’s roots lie in India, where it began as a malaria preventative. Therefore it had to be enjoyable to drink in stinking hot climates,” says Aussie expat Jacob Ryan of NYC’s Mother’s Ruin. But it’s more than just a refreshing cocktail thanks to the a ginnaissance that’s going on down under, with new, absolutely delicious gins being made with botanicals unique to Australia and Southeast Asia like finger limes and wattle seed. Ryan crafted his country’s G&T with Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin, a warm, rich gin flavored with botanicals like Tasmanian pepperberry leaf and lemon myrtle, produced outside of Melbourne in Yarra Valley. Though his first Gin & Tonic ever was made with a one-to-one ratio of gin to tonic in a water bottle (“I was rather pleased about it,” he says), Ryan opts to scale the gin back these days, using instead a one-to-two ratio of gin to tonic. While a traditional Australian G&T would, like an old-school British G&T, be served with a slice of lemon (“and, due to Australia’s rather prohibitive liquor laws, very [little] actual gin,” Ryan says), he chooses to garnish his G&T with a fresh orange wedge, which brings out the juicy citrusy notes in the gin.

The Essentials

Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin
Tonic Water
orange slice
Marisa Chafetz / Supercall
An “American” Gin & Tonic might bring to mind a standard dive bar cocktail served in tall glass with well gin, tonic water from a gun, and a small lime wedge. But these days, American bars are turning the simple drink into a true craft affair. At Ultreia in Denver, the cocktail menu dedicates a full section to Gin & Tonic variations. Like many, co-owner Beth Gruitch was inspired by a trip to Spain, the new gin capital of the world. But instead of simply recreating the cocktails she had on that trip, Gruitch worked with bartender Jessica Richter to create drinks like the Jack Rudy, a truly American take on the Spanish-style cocktail. It calls for Colorado-made Spring 44 Gin as well as American-made Jack Rudy Classic Tonic Syrup and club soda in place of the usual tonic water. “With the syrup, you can put as much or as little into the drink and mix it with soda water,” Gruitch says. It gives the drink that truly American quality of being able to have it your way. At Ultreia, bartenders garnish the Rudy Ruby with grapefruit and sage, two flavors already present in the Spring 44 Gin. The resulting cocktail is like a super amped up G&T, a powerhouse of flavor. For Gruitch, this is only the beginning. “I don’t think that gin’s had its heyday yet,” she says.

The Essentials

Spring 44 Gin
Jack Rudy Classic Tonic Syrup
club soda, to top

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