Summer’s classic cocktail is the gin & tonic—fizzy and cold it hits the spot on a hot summer afternoon. While it may be one of the easiest to prepare, there are some clever yet simple riffs you can apply to mix things up a bit. For starters, the abundance of new gins on the market make it easy to change flavor profiles—with offerings that showcase botanicals from South Africa to coastal gins that bring a briny vibe. You can also consider changing up the type of tonic and tossing in a unique simple syrup as long as the essence is the same—a big ice-filled glass of gin-laced tonic.
For a briny, ocean-infused riff try the “Coastal” Gin & Tonic from the Botanical Bar at the newly opened Wall Street Hotel (cocktail by Amy Racine). Says Racine, “This is an ocean inspired cocktail. Gray Whale Gin is made with sustainable California ingredients and 1% of all sales go to environmental causes focusing on the ocean. The nori brings that salty umami scent of standing on the water, lime peel for brightness, and mint for an herbal dimension.”
· 2 oz Gray Whale Gin
· Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic
· Lime peel, expressed
· Mint ploosh
Create: Build in G&T glass. Add ice, stir. Top with tonic. Garnish with Nori pressed gently across the bowl of glass. Smack the peppermint and garnish for aromatics. Peel a lime wheel, squeeze over the top, wipe around rim, and drop in glass.
South Africa’s Atian Rose Gin offers a chance to taste botanicals from a distinct Floral Kingdom. The gin features botanicals from the Cape Floral Kingdom, one of the world’s six kingdoms and the only one confined to a single country. Teeming with biodiversity, the botanicals here are unique in the world. Atian is infused with Rooibos, liquorice plant, buchu, juniper, cubeb, cardamom, lemon, grapefruit, African ginger, almond, coriander, rose hips and rose geranium.
- 2 0z Atian Rose Gin
- 4 oz Fever-Tree Light Tonic Water
- Blood Orange Wheel
- Lemon or Lime Wheel
- Cucumber Wheel
- Juniper Berries
Create: Pour ice into a goblet glass, add gin, tonic and garnish with selections of your liking.
This Farmhouse Clove G&T features exotic aromas enhanced with clove-smoked ice. Author Nandita Godbole shares her recipe below, pulled from her newest cookbook: Masaleydaar: Classic Indian Spice Blends, 2022. Explains Godbole, “The farm was our summer escape, away from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai, less than a hundred miles away. Morning tea was always made with a leaflet or two of lemongrass. While mid-day meals were laid out indoors away from the hot sun, evening meals were laid out picnic style in the courtyard, under the summer skies. The cooler evening breezes would carry the aroma of the wood burning stove to us in the courtyard, reminding us of the efforts my mother took to make our meals. This cocktail is an homage to those times. The smoke-rinsed glass adds a mesmerizing aromatic quality only enhanced with the smoked ice. The aromatic simple syrup, redolent of familiar spices, amplifies the flavors of the craft gin and adds complexity while the sparkling citrus mixer elevates it into a refreshing cocktail, ideal for the summer.”
· 7-8 cloves
· 2-3 cubes Clove-smoked ice, see prep note
· 1 oz Jaisalmer Craft Gin
· 1 tbsp Shahjahani Simple Syrup
· 4 oz sparkling lemon (Fever-Tree)
· 1 oz sparkling grapefruit, optional
· One lemongrass leaflet, for garnish, optional
· Few Schezwan Pepper pods for garnish
To make clove smoked ice:
- Prepare an ice-cube tray with water.
- Prepare a heat proof tray with 5-6 cloves.
- Using a matchstick, light the pile of cloves on fire.
- Using a pair of tongs, immediately drop one or more burning cloves into each ice-cube section.
- Freeze until ready to use.
- Chill the glass before starting.
- To smoke-rinse the glass, place 1-2 cloves on a heatproof tray. Using a matchstick set them on fire. Immediately flip the glass over the burning clove. Allow the glass to take on the aroma undisturbed until the drink is ready.
- In a small chilled glass jar, or a cocktail shaker, combine the gin with the simple syrup. Shake until well mixed.
- To serve, place two or more clove-smoked ice cubes into the smoke-rinsed glass. Carefully pour over the infused gin and finish with sparkling lemon. Carefully add the sparkling grapefruit if using, to preserve the color.
- If using a lemongrass leaflet, twist it into a spiral, and slide it into the glass.
- Garnish with a few pods of Schezwan pepper. Serve immediately.
Recipe © Masaleydaar: Classic Indian Spice Blends, Nandita Godbole, 2022. Publisher: Turmeric Press/Curry Cravings (™) LLC.
Aranciand T from The Americano—a Scottsdale restaurant from James Beard Award-Winning Chef Scott Conant—offers this take on a G&T that features Malfy Con Arancia Gin, an Italian gin that blends Sicilian Blood Oranges with the finest botanicals and hand-picked juniper. While comprised of mainly Italian ingredients, Conant and his team took inspiration from Spanish ‘gintonics’ which have gained popularity throughout the world – light, fresh, with tons of straight out of the garden garnish.
- 1.5 oz Malfy Con Arancia Gin
- .5 oz Starlino Rose Vermouth
- .5 oz Ramazzotti Aperitivo
- .75 oz Yellow Chartreuse
- Citric Acid
- Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic
Combine all ingredients in desired glass along with ice. Top with tonic. Garnish with fresh / dehydrated citrus and thyme.
Massachusetts-based Short Path Distillery offers seven unique gins—this Hammock Time G&T recipe features a summer gin with a refreshing flavor profile.
· 2. oz Short Path Distillery Summer Gin
· 5 Mint Leaves
· 4 Raspberries
· 4 oz Fever-Tree Aromatic Tonic Water
Create: Add the Summer Gin, mint leaves, and raspberries into a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler, lightly twist the mint leaves and break up the raspberries. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice and top with Aromatic Tonic Water. Garnish with a mint bouquet.
Short Path’s Bee & Tea is a summery G&T with an infusion of black tea honey syrup.
· 2 oz Short Path Distillery Gin
· 0.50 oz Black Tea Infused Honey Syrup
· 0.50 oz Lemon (freshly squeezed)
· 2 oz Fever-Tree Tonic Water
Add the Gin, black tea infused honey syrup, and lemon into a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice and top with tonic water. Stir to mix together ingredients and garnish with a lemon twist. To make black tea infused honey syrup, add one black tea bag to hot water and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bag and combine hot tea with 1 cup raw honey. Whisk to combine.
The Supersonic Gin & Tonic from Hendrick’s Gin features espresso for a nice cocktail kick.
· 2 parts Hendrick’s Gin
· 1 bar spoon Simple Syrup
· 1 part Fresh Espresso (left to go cold)
· 2 parts Premium Tonic Water
· Cucumber to garnish
Combine all ingredients in a highball glass filled with cubed ice and lightly stir. Garnish with 3 thinly sliced rounds of cucumber and serve.