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Classic G&T Recipe & History

"Never Never Southern Strength works perfectly for bringing character to your G&T. Choose a good quality tonic water with well balanced quinine and citrus notes (my favourite is 1724 from Chile, the birthplace of quinine), or opt for Sicilian lemon tonic water. You'll taste juniper and pepper on your palate and warming cinnamon to finish."

- Eleonora Biason, Drinks Distilled Spirits Guide

Follow the recipe Get the history

Image by Quentin Fichot

What You Need

Method

  1. Fill a highball glass or Copa de Balon glass with plenty of ice.
  2. Add 50ml gin and top with 120ml tonic water to give you the best balance of Never Never Southern Strength.

  3. Garnish with a wedge of orange.

  4. Let the bubbles open the gin's flavours and play with the juniper for a moment, then sit back, relax and enjoy it. 

A Sippable History of the G&T

For a drink that started life in the late 1800s as a way for British soldiers to make their antimalarial treatment more interesting, the Gin and Tonic has come a long way.

In recent years, the G&T has been hailed the UK’s favourite long mixed drink. A variety of factors have been cited for this: the birth of new gin distilleries, the growth of premium tonic waters, increasing interest in craft gins and ‘ginnovation’ (such as flavoured gins), and, of course, the G&T sipping priest in the hit TV show Fleabag.

Where did it all begin?

All available information suggests that the Gin and Tonic was born in the latter part of the nineteenth century, in British colonial India. It was invented by British soldiers who mixed gin into their antimalarial quinine water to make it more appealing.

Around this time, Britain’s Eramus Bond patented the first “aerated tonic water” for the Schweppes partners which was soda water mixed with quinine. This was first sold only in India and other British colonies, which made it a rarity anywhere else until the early 1900s. Combining Schweppes' already successful soda water with quinine and sweeteners, tonic water became a healthful and thirst-quenching drink when mixed with gin for Brits living in tropical areas.

The mixed drink was first seen in print in 1868 when it was referenced in a description of the horse races at Sialkot. By 1881, it had become “the drink most patronised in India.”

As Seen In

Before today’s ‘ginaissance’’, these were the milestones that went with the mixed drink going global:

  • 1938: The Gin and Tonic is mentioned in Ernest Hemingway’s short story The Denunciation, which is set in Chicote’s Bar in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War.
  • 1939: In Charles H. Baker’s book, The Gentleman’s Companion, Baker says the G&T “originated to combat fevers, real or alleged” and “became accepted over here by American hosts who wanted to impress folk with having combed the Orient.”
  • 1948: In David Embury’s book, The Fine Art Of Mixing Drinks, Embury states “four to five cubes is none too much for a 14 to 16 ounce Collins glass. There is nothing more insipid than a lukewarm drink.”
  • 1958: Ian Fleming mentions the drink in the James Bond book Dr. No, where the drink is made using the juice of “one whole green lime.”

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