A great gin and tonic never loses popularity. Especially with the fabulous weather forecast lately, a substantial amount of G&Ts have been consumed at a rapid rate. I’ve been a Hendricks lover for quite some time but the locally made gin offerings in South Africa have become incredibly competitive and super delicious with some of our brands really kicking international butt. So obviously i’m doing my bit for the country and the economy and drinking more local gin.
Inverroche is one of them and I’ve done some serious damage to their stock pile since I’ve discovered it. Herbaceous and delicious the Classic is handcrafted using 15 different botanicals. Hints of juniper, citrus and wild Cape fynbos make this hooch a winner. To accompany my gin of choice I normally use Fitch & Leedes Indian Tonic and have also recently discovered Swaan Cape Tonic by AA Badenhorst Wines. They are both superb.
One of my favourite things about a gin and tonic is that you can have it exactly how you want it. There are no strict rules and you can play with flavour combos as much as you like.
The classic ratio is about 1 part gin to 3 parts tonic. I tend to be a tad heavy handed with the gin landing up with almost equal parts but you know it’s made with herbs so it’s practically medicinal. The next most important thing is keeping everything icy cold. I pop my gin in the freezer, tonic in the fridge and you can even chill the glasses. The next nifty idea is making tonic water ice cubes. Saw this on the kitchn and made a tray almost immediately. The trick here is to use flat-ish tonic or your ice cube won’t be very solid. But this nifty trick will not only allow the flavour of your G&T to be less diluted you’ll also just be really, really cool.
Hendricks led me to the cucumber and peppercorn pairing which is still one of my favourite combos when pouring a G&T. Even infusing your bottle of gin in a jug with ribbons of cucumber adds a fabulous flavour and you can choose to strain it out.
Grapefruit zest is another winner. Peel it with a very sharp peeler so as to avoid any of the white pith. That’s the bitter part. The zest is where the money is at adding heaps of flavour and aroma. This one has been further jazzed up with edible pansies that I froze into the tonic water ice cubes.
This chilli infused G&T is a newbie for me and I was really just playing around but ended up loving it! Add as much freshly sliced chilli as your taste buds desire. Take the seeds out if you prefer a milder buzz, or even infuse the gin separately, but I thoroughly loved the warmth it added and used the whole chilli seeds and all. To accompany this spicy gin I added a sweet garnish. I caramelised pineapple with some brown sugar using a blowtorch. Let’s just say I will be making this a fair amount in the future.
All of the above combos are fabulous but will never replace the classic gin and tonic with a wedge of lemon or lime. Squeeze the wedge into the glass and then plop it in.
I do also love adding a dash of Angostura bitters to the mix and turning it into a pink gin. Add a sprig of mint, find a gin buddy and enjoy!