Choosing the best gin for gin and tonic is a tough decision… With so many distilleries and garnish options, we've spoken to the experts for their advice!
Who doesnt love an ice cold G&T after a long week? Once regarded as a tipple that only your grandparents would choose, gin has become the spirit to drink.
For the real gin fanatics there are plenty of gin themed excursions and trips, whether you want to sip gin aboard a train, check in to the gin hotel or take part in what will probably be the poshest gin-themed pub crawl around, the options are endless.
Theres been a barrage of positive gin news recently. Its low in cals, and and juniper, the main botanical in gin, is full of anti-oxidants which can help with bloating and help your skin look healthier. A G&T can even help with cure hay fever – do you really need any more convincing?
Now you can even get your favourite pre-mixed G&T in a can – perfect for stylish train bevys, or summer picnics.
Gordons have delighted gin fans across the globe with their latest addition – premium pink gin in a can for a mere £1.80. For now, you cant buy the new treat everywhere – as its only on sale in Morrisons, Asda, Co-op and Tesco.
Portobello Road Gin, the brains behind The Distillery – where you can try your hand at making your own gin, dine on delicious tapas and even sleep in a sumptuous gin-themed hotel room – also have their own super-fancy gin in a can – for the discerning drinkers on the go.
But if youre making your own, which is the very best gin? And whats the ultimate G&T pairing? We consulted the experts to find out…
Meet our Gin Experts…
As Chair of the World Drinks Awards, Felicity knows her gin, especially when it comes to the different brands. Felicitys says the best gin for beginners is Bombay Sapphire, because its flavours are more delicate – “the botanicals are placed in a basket above the alcohol rather than boiled in it.” Once youve mastered this she recommends any of the gold, silver or bronze winners which can be found at The World Gin Awards website.
Leon Dalloway is a contributor for BBC Good Food and founder of the award-winning Gin Journey. Leons breath of gin knowledge covers everything from its history to where to find the most banging gin bars across the country. Leons top tip is to try your gin with a dash of water – “use a max of equal parts. This allows you to understand what is the predominant flavour profile.” Leon can be found posting all things gin-related on the Gin Boss Twitter and Instagram.
What is the best gin for gin and tonic?
2016 was declared the year of gin, with around 40 million bottles sold. Since, enthusiasts everywhere have been keen to find the best value bottle. But with so many different varieties available, and new distilleries popping up all the time, it can be hard to know which is the best gin (but you sure can have fun finding out!)
The World Gin Awards 2017 welcomed some of the years best gins.
The awards saw a 45 per cent increase in the number of entries, so the competition was tough. But while Swedens Hernö Gin took the top spot as the Worlds Best Gin for 2017, the UK had some strong entries. The UKs Bullards Norwich Dry Gin took the title of best London Dry, while Ableforths Bathtub Gin Navy-Strength was named best Compound Gin – these varieties are made without distilling the botanicals. Instead, fresh botanicals are infused or essences are used.
Interestingly, the best gin does not neccessarily come at a higher price. At the International Spirits Challenge (ISP), Aldis own brand gin, which costs just £9.97, beat the likes of Hendricks (£28) and Tanqueray Rangpur (£18) in a blind taste test. Its even less than Sainsburys basic gin (£10.75)! Drinks expert Jilly Goolden declared Aldis gin as both cheap and classy. Cant argue with that combo…
Which garnish is best for a G&T?
All gins must use juniper and start as a neutral spirit to be classed as a gin when made in the EU. The rest of the botanicals vary considerably from bottle to bottle. When choosing what gin to buy, Leon suggests you look on the label to see the botanical mix of the gin, the ABV (Alcohol By Volume) and where it is from. This can help you decide what the best garnish is to compliment the gin you have chosen.
Leon says: “Cucumber works well with cucumber lead gins and citrus belongs in a lot of gins on the market. Lime is great in some yet is a native of South America so only made its way into the G&T relatively recently where as lemon is European and has featured for a lot longer.”
What is the ideal tonic water for the best gin and tonic?
Think carefully about your tonic if you want the best end result. Felicity said: “The quality of the tonic water is important – dont skimp on this – its worth paying more for the best.”
Leon highly recommends Fever-Tree. He says: “Theyre natural and they have a great range of expressions.” Other tonic brands that come highly commended are Q Tonic, Fentimans and 1724. If you dont fancy tonic with your gin Leon has some other suggestions. “I find a good cloudy apple juice is incredible with gin, people are often surprised when I mention that.
“A splash of cranberry with that makes gin and crapple – delicious. Or a sparkling grapefruit drink like Ting is tasty as too.”
Leon recommends using one part gin to two parts tonic (or apple juice, ting, whatever your preference!)
What are the best gin glasses for gin and tonic?
Leon loves super tall glasses because the ice doesnt melt as quickly, but he says balloon glasses are better for spreading aromas. These balloon glasses originate from the basque region in northern Spain and are called the Copa de Balon.
Similar in shape to a red wine glass, the Copa de Balon has a bulbous structure which sits on a stem. Gin connoisseurs and owners of the The Distillery, aka the Gin Hotel, Portobello Road Gin, explained how to get the perfect Copa serve: “Where the copa serve really comes into its own though, is in the way that its garnished – utilising a variety of vegetables, spices and natural botanicals, pretty much anything goes – so long as they complement the flavour profile of the various botanicals in each gin and enhance the drink on the nose.”
Leon says regardless of the glass it is essential to fill it as full as possible with ice. He said: “This will mean your drink takes longer to dilute. Dont serve me a puddle. Serve me the most crisp G&T you can fathom.” We couldnt have said it better!
What are the best gin cocktails?
If you want something a little different to your classic G&T why not opt for a gin based cocktail. Leon recommends the following…
A classic martini is comprised of five parts gin and one part dry martini. Will you take it as James Bond does, shaken and not stirred?
The Tom Collins
This is a lovely refreshing tipple. Best served over ice with four parts carbonated water, three parts gin, two parts lemon juice and one part sugar syrup. Well take three please…
This is Felicitys favourite and perfect for those that like it strong! It is made of one part gin, one part Campari and one part sweet vermouth, giving it that distinctive bittersweet taste. For a twist on this one you might like the Negroni Spumante, it includes prosecco an pink grapefruit to garnish.
The French 75
This classy cocktail combines one part gin, with half parts of lemon juice and sugar syrup, topped up with champagne. This cocktail is a little like a Tom Collins, but with an extra boozy boost. We approve.
Dont be afraid to try your gin straight. Simply served over ice, gin is equally as tasty.
If youre still looking for ginspiration, check out our round-up of the latest gin launches, from glitter gin to Unicorn Tears gin…
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