This is a post dedicated to all those who drank copious amounts of Gin & Tonics with me in my early twenties. While my tastes have changed, my love for this drink has not.
As the weather cuts our jeans into shorts and sweaters into tank tops, cocktail bars are starting to swap hot toddies for crisp and refreshing boozy concoctions. Herbs and citrus are king right now pairing perfectly with our favorite clear spirits. I’ve never been a fan of vodka, but gin has always found its way into one of my favorite spirits (after whiskey of course). Gin can span from incredibly herbaceous to having notes of orange and cinnamon. Both sides of the spectrum brings it’s own personality to each cocktail. While, I rarely discriminate spirits, I find myself more in the herb-driven camp. Actually, I lean much more heavily that way being that my favorite gin is The Botanist from the Scottish distillery, Bruichladdich.
Located on the island of Islay, Bruichladdich is well known for their über-peaty whiskies, most notably, Octomore, the world’s most heavily peated single malt. Their foray into gin is not the path most take in distilleries on these tiny islands. However, The Botanist, true to it’s name, has proven to be something truly unique in the world of gin. The distillery forages 22 botanicals sourced solely from the island to supplement the classic herb bouquet. In addition to the traditional juniper, cassia bark, angelica, and coriander, herbs such as hawthorn, heather, wood sage, and sweet cicely add a more grounding herbaceousness than most other spirits of it’s kind.
I prefer to enjoy The Botanist in cocktails where its complex nuances can be highlighted. I’ve found that a classic Gin & Tonic, with only two primary ingredients, is the best place to enjoy this spirit. I follow two commandments with Gin & Tonics – first, you must use high quality gin, and second, you must use high quality tonic. Since this drink consists of few ingredients, the quality of those ingredients becomes much more apparent.
I typically purchase small bottles of Fever Tree’s Indian Tonic or Q Drinks Tonic, both of which are less sweet than most, and not overtly bitter. They’re really great for showcasing the quality of the gin.
As far as citrus goes, people tend to shuffle towards lemon or lime based on preference. For me, lime tastes the best, but again, that’s based on my preference. Since it’s just now becoming warm, and all of the trees and flowers are starting to blossom, I’ve added a little blood orange juice. It enhances the bitter quality of the tonic and gives the cocktail a beautiful pink color for Spring! The addition of rhubarb bitters is a perfect bridge between the citrus and gin, and just gives it a little something extra.
Blood Orange Gin & Tonic
1.5 oz. Gin
.5 oz. Blood Orange Juice
.5 oz. Lime Juice
4 oz. (or so) Tonic Water
A few dashes of Rhubarb Bitters
Add gin, blood orange juice, lime juice, rhubarb bitters and ice to your glass. Pour over tonic water, and stir gently. Drink copiously.