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Five Easy Upgrades on the Gin & Tonic

Give your G&T a low-key updo.

For much of its history, the Gin & Tonic hovered above the realm of recreation.

Today, however, it’s not uncommon for a simple G&T to boast a laundry list of ingredients meant to elevate the simple highball. But improving upon the tried and tested formula, while still retaining the inherent simplicity of the original, is no easy task. 

Chaim Dauermann’s approach is to build on the characteristic bitterness of the drink, which he achieves by adding a measure of Suze, an herbal French liqueur, to his Insanely Good Gin & Tonic. The White Lyan team likewise adds a bitter element by way of Campari, tempered with a splash of elderflower liqueur, in their Gin and Tonic’d Elderflower. The finishing touch for that drink is in the technique: The recommends force-carbonating the whole mixture with an iSi siphon for an extra powerful fizz.

gin & tonic recipe

A simple upgrade from Dan Sabo of Hotel Figueroa puts an unexpected twist on a common G&T garnish: the cucumber. Rather than floating cucumber slices in the drink, his G&T&C&R includes a cucumber juice ice cube that allows the drink to evolve over time and play off the cucumber notes that define Hendrick’s Gin, his preferred brand for this recipe.

At Wassail, where cider cocktails are a mainstay, Jade Sotack puts a funky spin on the classic in her Gin & Juice. To the standard gin base, Sotack adds an ounce of tonic syrup and tops the whole thing with Spanish sidra in place of tonic water for a lower-proof rendition. We take the same approach in our house recipe, the Soft Shock, cutting down the proof by splitting the base between gin and fino sherry, and kicking up the aromatics by way of a dose of both lime and mint. 

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