From the perfect gin to the best glassware, Joanna Maya shares her tips for pouring her all-time favourite tipple
There is something uniquely restorative about a gin and tonic. Whenever I’m asked, “What would you like to drink?”, in those brief indecisive moments I always come back with the failsafe: “Gin and tonic.” So what is the secret of a good G&T? Is it down to the spirit, or the amount of ice you use? And, crucially, are you serving it in the right glass? Get all the combined ingredients wrong and you’re on the way to spoiling one of my most-loved drinks.
Did you know that there are more than 100 independent brands of gin in England? England has its reputation and history of making this drink since 17th century when it reached the English Channel, and became well known in Britain after William of Orange took the English throne in 1688. Due to a low taxation, locally produced gin was cheap to make and, therefore, cheap to buy. The popularity of it was impressive.
The core ingredient
Gin can be flavoured with a wide range of botanicals but the core ingredient is juniper (the rest is left to different producers). Recently I was served Berkeley Square gin at a club and I swiftly came to the conclusion that it is the single malt of gins. Infused with botanicals, including basil, lavender, kaffir lime leaf and sage, wrapped in muslin and left for 48 hours to infuse its essentials oils, it is handcrafted at the oldest distillery in England and has fast become my favourite gin. I also recently came across the micro distillery, Half Hitch gin, in the heart of Camden Lock. Infused with black tea and bergamot, the gin is like fragrance to the palate.
The perfect glass for a gin and tonic is a high ball – or, in other words, a long drink glass that contains 280-350 ml and is predominantly used for serving highball cocktails and mixed drinks. For a cocktail to taste great, a well-chilled crystal glass is a must – the equivalent to a sommelier tasting wine glass. My favourite crystal high ball glass is Sky Blue (above, £165 for a set of six), decorated with a golden berry.
A fresh, crisp tonic such as Fentimans is key to achieving the best-tasting drink. Forget about that bottle you opened two weeks ago and never got round to finishing – it will only spoil your lovely spirit. Crack open a fresh one instead.
Decorating is the final touch, the sensory icing on the cake. My favourite garnishes include physalis fruit, watermelon and lemon with mint – with a couple of twisted and aromatic star anise dropped into the glass for good measure.
Keep it cold
Make sure everything is cold. Keep the gin and crystalware in the freezer, along with a tray full of ice, and some small bottles of fresh tonic, along with garnishes in the fridge.
2 shots (50ml/2oz) frozen gin
Cold tonic water
Physalis and star anise to garnish
Fill your high ball with ice, add the gin and slowly top with chilled tonic water. Stir gently, then add a straw. Twist the star anise, cut one physalis in half and add. Use the second physalis to decorate. Enjoy!
Joanna Maya is Creative Director of Gurasu Crystal