The Perfect Gin & Tonic

I will admit to you trusted friends here that I have sampled an unconscionable number of gin & tonics in my years of drinking. It was a default drink when I was young and didn't want to get sick from sugary coolers and it was something even the diviest of bars would have the basic ingredients for.

I didn't realize until much later in my adult drinking years that a gin and tonic was allow to contain anything besides "a lot of well gin, some tonic and a overly dry lime segment."

Okay maaaaybe I'm being a bit over-dramatic but it really never occurred to me to liven things up. Even after an entire summer of swearing by gin and lemonade I never thought to use more than 2 base ingredients. Then, while starting my cocktail journey, my amazing sister-in-law Lauren mentioned to me that her favorite was also the gin and tonic and her favorite blend actually contained cucumber, basil and St. Germain. At first I was suspicious of some sort of heresy or dark magic but since she has yet to steer me wrong I decided to risk it.

What she had put me on the path to was - for sure - the most perfect G&T I had ever indulged in. If I could spend all summer sitting on my balcony drinking these with a surplus of books and music I would not consider a second of it wasted. This drink is not at all sweet but has a very fresh and refreshing flavor that doesn't punch you in the face with booziness.

I made this with Hendrick's (which is heavier on cucumber and rose notes) so it is very light on the juniper. If you normally think gin drinks taste like Christmas trees this would be a good way to enjoy one without that quality. Let me know if it makes you want to try more gin in the future!

DRINK INGREDIENTS:

  • 3.0 oz Hendrick's gin 
  • 2 oz St. Germain elderflower liquer
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • 3 sprigs basil, plus more to garnish
  • 1 English cucumber
  • Tonic water to fill (roughly 2 oz per glass)

HOW TO MIX THE DRINK:

Cut several rounds from your cucumber for muddling and put one aside for your garnish. Squeeze the lime into your shaker and add in the gin, St Germain, basil, and cucumber. With a wooden muddler (or... you know, the end of a wooden spoon if you're desperate, I used my rolling pin once...) smash up all the veggies so they release their flavors. Add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into 2 rocks glassed with a few fresh ice cubes. Top with the tonic water - don't accidentally shake this in, I promise you'll end up wearing your drink.

I usually garnish this with another sprig of basil and you're reserved cucumber.