Who doesn’t love a gin and tonic? It’s the classic cocktail you’ll likely find in some form at a bar anywhere in the world. Gin qualities will vary, but if they do it right, you get a tarty, tangy, refreshing experience. It’s why it’s a favorite starter cocktail to kill the first date awkwardness. 

You don’t need to be a seasoned bartender to be able to make a decent gin and tonic—just the understanding of what makes this drink work. You can (probably) train a circus chimpanzee to do it.

What you can also do is take inspiration from the greats. Like this recipe from a late revered celebrity chef. 

A Celebrity Chef’s Gin and Tonic Recipe

  • You’ll need a highball glass, good-quality gin, a solid tonic, fresh limes, and a handful of ice cubes. No, not those watery excuses for ice cubes sitting in your freezer for months. Get the good stuff.
  • Start with your glass. Take a lime, cut a wedge. Run it around the rim of the glass. You want to give it a hint of that citrus zest right from the start. After that, chuck the lime wedge in there. Now fill the glass with ice. All the way up, don’t be shy.
  • Pour in your gin. How much gin? Let’s say 2 ounces. If you’re feeling particularly audacious, make it 3. It’s your drink, after all. Make sure it’s a gin that you like. It should whisper sweet botanical nothings to you, not something that screams ‘juniper’ and punches you in the face.
  • Now for the tonic. Use a good quality tonic that you can drink on its own without wincing. Pour it in slowly. Watch the bubbles as they form and burst, watch the gin and tonic mix and meld together. 
  • Give it a light stir. Don’t go stirring like you’re mixing a cauldron. A gentle stir is all you need.
  • Finally, take a lime and cut a wheel. Place it on top as garnish. For one last burst of citrus aroma every time you take a sip.

The proportion should be 1 part gin to 2-3 parts tonic, but again, it’s your drink. Adjust to taste. But remember, if you’re pouring more tonic than gin, you’re missing the point.

The Philosophy

People think they know the gin and tonic. It’s a simple cocktail, a child’s crayon drawing in a world of intricate oil paintings. Two ingredients, served over ice, with a lime wedge if you feel fancy. It’s the kind of drink served at garden parties and low-end bars, the kind of cocktail you can order anywhere without worrying about the bartender screwing it up. That’s what they think. But they’re wrong.

The Art of Making a Gin and Tonic

There’s an art to a gin and tonic, a depth of flavor and complexity that rivals even the most sophisticated cocktails. It’s not just a summer drink; it’s an experience, a passport to a world of flavors you didn’t even know existed.

There’s the gin. Juniper isn’t the only flavor you’ll notice on a good gin. A symphony of botanicals is in there, each playing its part in creating a melody of flavors.