What says summer afternoons on the porch like a gin & tonic? It’s the perfect drink to have in hand while I lounge and read, which is the inspiration for my summer porch cocktails series. Sadly, I’ve finished my spring stash of the stellar nectar that is Hendrick’s gin. It was a wonderful transition into summer, and made even a standard weeknight cocktail feel like a treat. Now that I’ve taken off my academic hat in favor of a little summer downtime, though, I’m embracing less formal concoctions. I stumbled upon this WSJ article—with tons of suggestions for upgrading a G&T—just as I was transitioning from my favorite spring cocktails to their summer cousins. I was inspired to experiment, so I sampled a few G&Ts made with Hendrick’s gin and Fentiman’s tonic. They were incredibly delicious—with more complex botanical flavors and less sweetness—but I don’t find that their undoubted superiority warrants the steep price of the ingredients. A humble combination of Seagram’s extra dry gin and Canada Dry tonic is perfectly acceptable, in my opinion. I pay this drink the same respect I would its pricier counterpart, and find the ritual equally enjoyable.
Gin & Tonic
1 part gin
2 parts tonic
large lime wedge
Pack a highball glass with as many large ice cubes as it will accommodate. Then, add 1 part gin to 2 parts tonic, until the glass is nearly overflowing. The amounts will depend upon the size of the glass and the amount of ice in it. Next, squeeze a generous lime wedge over the top, dunk the wedge into the glass, and stir with anything that’s handy–a fancy highball spoon, an iced tea spoon, a butter knife or a finger. The drink will stay cold without becoming too dilute thanks to the generous proportion of ice and the smaller surface area of the larger cubes.
A frosty, bitter sip of G&T is the summer equivalent of a fiery slug of brandy in the dead of winter. It’s cold on my lips, and chills a path from my tongue all the way to my core. It sustains me through the all-afternoon reading binges that happen when I have the opportunity to take my eye and my mind off the clock. With all of this extra time on my hands, and with an ever-present desire to make things more complicated, I decided to try my hand at making some tonic syrup. I’ll report back with my thoughts in another post, after I’ve sampled it.