Gin’s a crowded market these days, with dozens of brands jostling for space on supermarket shelves — but what’s the best tonic water to pair with the UK’s favourite spirit?
Like almost everybody else I know, I’m a big gin fan – and that’s not a niche opinion anymore, as it may have been ten or so years ago.
It’s fair to say the spirit has firmly shed it’s ‘hipster’ reputation and become genuinely mainstream. And that’s great: the more people drinking G&Ts (in moderation), the better.
Why? Because it’s a really good drink. There’s a fantastic combination of bitter and sweet in a G&T – a winning combo in the culinary world too, which may explain why some of my foody friends love the drink.
But here’s the dilemma for me: there are two elements to the drink; two variables; two different products you have to make a choice about.
And if like me you’re a bit of a perfectionist, choosing the right gin and tonic pairing can be a bit of a challenge – with so many flavours whizzing about in the gin and the tonic, bad combinations can easily be made…
Having tried a fair few over the years, I’ve become fairly sure of my favourite (and least favourite) gins.
Martin Miller’s is top of my list – it’s wonderfully clear and pure tasting. At the other end, I tend to steer clear of anything too floral or strongly flavoured.
Putting my opinions aside for a moment, we recently recruited some spirit experts to test popular high street gins – and the results might surprise you.
I’ve never been quite as certain on tonics though: some of the premium brands have released such a dizzying array of different types and flavours recently, it’s hard to keep up.
I’m sure of one thing though: diet tonics that contain sweeteners like aspartame are never welcome in my G&T; the artificial flavour is easily detectable and it ruins the drink for me.
Diet and slimline aside, I’ve tasted most tonics on the market but I don’t really think they add much beyond what you get from my G&T go-to: Schweppes.
The experts we recruited to test various gins and tonics had their own views on premium tonics, but agreed that Schweppes is perfectly good for everyday use.
The right balance
For me, the balance between the gin and tonic is the more important thing: while 1 part gin to 3 parts tonic is the popular advice, I usually go for a 1:2 ratio.
I like the gin to be clearly noticeable in my G&T – this may be because I got into drinking martinis a few years ago after watching a few too many episodes of Mad Men – but this won’t be to everyone’s taste.
This all means the tonic is less important to me – if it’s got some fizz, is nice and cold and I can taste the gin, I’m happy.
But what do you think? Are you a G&T fan or is it all a bit too faddy for you? Do you pay more for premium tonic?