Friday, July 15, 2011

G&T Perfection

I did not take a liking to Gin until I was almost 40. Since then I've grown quite fond of Gin and Tonics during hot summer months. Refreshing, light, and crisp, they're the perfect summer drink. And I've learned to make them perfectly.

As with any recipe, the perfect G&T starts with the ingredients. For this drink you will need:

*Limes -- I"ll leave it up to personal taste whether you use regular or key limes. If using regular, a half a lime will do per drink, for key limes use on or two whole limes (depending on HOW small they are)
* Salt -- less than a pinch, literally just a few grains will do. Sea salt is best.
*Gin -- a good gin is of course key to a good G&T. I'm partial to Bendistillery's Cascade Mountain and High Desert gins from right here in Oregon. It's a fairly new craft distillery, but their gins and vodkas are superb.
* Tonic Water -- This, believe it or not, was the secret that led to my G&T's going from good to truly great. There are actually varying qualities of tonic water. The best I've found so far is a brand from England called Fever Tree. Here in Eugene I can get it at Market of Choice. It's pricey stuff, and I don't always use it, but when I'm in the mood for a special, over-the-top treat, this is the stuff.
* Ice -- good ice, preferrably made from distilled water.

Halve the lime around its equator. Cut one half into eighths, use the other half to cut garnish slices. Place half of the lime into the bottom of an old fashioned, add a few grains of sea salt, and muddle, being sure to bruise the skin of the lime. This releases essential oils that really improve the flavor of the drink. add a few ice cubes, 1 ounce of gin, and finally top off with tonic water. Stir, garnish with a lime slice.

Best enjoyed while wearing white and a Panama hat.


  1. Quite frankly, I prefer crankcase oil fresh from an oil change to gin. I do, however, agree that Bend Distillery produces an excellent vodka.

    I find key limes to be much more powerful than the usual Persian limes; therefore, one can usually do with less (if you're able to find, and use, actual Key limes). How potent are they? You can actually use them instead of fire to "cook" meats. I once used a bunch of them to marinate a tri-tip for the grill. Got side-tracked, forgot about it for a couple of days. When I pulled it out of the fridge, the meat was done. They're powerful little buggers.

    It's worth noting as well that what is sold as tonic water may in fact lack the essential ingredient - quinine. It is that which makes actual tonic water so comparatively expensive (and presumably fights malaria as well). Fakes abound in the less expensive categories, and they're composed of high-fructose corn syrup, water, carbonation, and bitters rather than actual quinine. Most bars use the low-end "tonic water", which results in an inferior product.

    In Portland, I'm aware of only one, in near-Northeast, that uses all real ingredients. There may be others, but I've not found them. OTOH, my bar-hopping days are pretty much over.

  2. Agreed, key limes are very potent. Hence only one, which still will produce less juice than half a good sized Persian. regular limes and lemons will also cook meat,I use them for ceviche all the time.

    Interestingly, the cheap safeway tonic water uses actual quinine. But Fever Tree uses spring water, cane sugar, natural quinine. Really is excellent stuff.

  3. I've not tried lemons, my result was accidental, followed by some research. The Key limes do produce less juice, but ounce for ounce, Persians can't compare.

    Haven't been to a Safeway in years, but will look for Fever Tree next time I visit Market Of Choice. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Hey, BTW - meant to mention it earlier: the Bendistillery vodka is sold under the "Crater Lake" moniker. Not sure why, but there it is.

  5. Cheers, glad to be of help.

    One of the Bendistillery vodkas is called Crater Lake, they have a couple of different products. The stick mostly with local/regional place names, much like Deschutes Brewery. I believe the Crater Lake vodka uses local lava rock as well as charcoal as part of the filtering proocess.

  6. Glad to see you're still hangin' in there!! My spritzy drink has become Rum, in all its various concatenations.