As we get into the warmer months, my go to cocktail is the classic gin and tonic. It’s a refreshing drink, especially after yard work. It’s also a great drink while grilling or barbecuing. It’s a simple cocktail, only requiring 3 ingredients. The only important part is the ingredient ratio. Let me tell you how I like mine.
The gin to tonic ratio is the most important aspect of the cocktail, right after the gin and tonic selection. So let’s talk about the gin first. I prefer a London Dry Gin. I like the juniper to be present in my G & T’s. Other gin styles tend to be too florally for me. I’m a traditionalist though.
One of my favorite gins is Boodles. It’s a great London dry and around $20 for a liter. Right now, since I’m trying to reduce my liquor bill a bit, I’ve settled on New Amsterdam gin. It’s a decent London Dry at just under $20 for 1.75 liter.
As for the tonic, do yourself a favor and buy a good tonic. Make sure it’s using real Quinine and not too sweet. Grocery market tonics are just too sweet for me and most aren’t made with real quinine or very little. My go to tonic is Fever Tree Refreshingly Light Indian Tonic. I’ve always liked gin and tonic, but my world changed when I tried a real tonic.
So let’s talk about the recipe. Keep in mind, there’s lots of different ways people make them. This is how I like them. Your 3 ingredients are lime, gin and tonic. Fresh lime is best, obviously.
2 ounces gin
3 ounces tonic
Squeeze of lime
Fill your glass about halfway with ice. Squeeze a wedge of lime into the glass. I like to taste the lime, so a wedge might be a quarter lime if the lime is small. Measure 2 ounces of gin into the glass. Measure 3 ounces of tonic into the glass. Stir. That’s it.
That ratio of 2 to 3 of gin to tonic is very important. Too much tonic hides the gin. Remember, you want to taste the gin. Everything should balance. Most places add way to much gin for me. Keep to that ratio.
There you go, my take on the classic gin and tonic. Enjoy.
I love a good whiskey cocktail and prefer the classics: Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Sazerac, Boulevardier and the occasional sour. But my favorite, easily is the Manhattan. I’ve had, and made them with both rye and bourbon. Hands down, the way to go on any of these is to use a good rye. And currently, my rye of choice is Old Overholdt.
Old Overholt is another one of those diamond in the rough finds. Smooth and spicy and very reasonably priced. Can easily find this for under $20. I think the last bottle I purchased cost me $16.
I rarely drink rye straight, but Overholt is smooth and balanced enough that I don’t mind a sip now and then. You’ll notice a different aroma from bourbon right off the bat, not near as smokey or woody as bourbon can be.
On the palette, the first thing I notice is that rye isn’t as like bourbon. You immediately get a spicy, peppery hit that follows all the way to the end. And this is what makes it a must in a Manhattan. That spicy note takes a cocktail from hohum to the next level.
My sweet vermouth of choice is made by Gallo. The ratio I use is 2 to 1 rye to vermouth. Add 2-3 dashes bitters of choice. A maraschino cherry and a bit of juice. The top it off with a twist of orange or lemon peel – it’s a great refreshing cocktail.
I plan to try some other rye brands in the future, but for now, Old Overholt will do. I also would like to experiment with other bitters and vermouths. The offerings for those around here are slim, I think I can count the vermouths I can find on one hand with a wide ranging price. Other bitters I’ll have to order online most likely.
You can’t go wrong with Old Overholt, it’s a reasonably priced smooth and spicy rye. It would be a great choice to try if you’ve never ventured into ryes before. And if you haven’t tried many whiskey cocktails beyond a sour or a whiskey and coke, expand your horizons with a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned. You don’t have to spend a lot to get the ingredients and they’re just flat out delicious.
After you’ve played around with those two, then move on to the Boulevardier or the Sazerac. The ingredients cost a bit more, but they’re next level cocktails. Look them up at your local speakeasy.