So what’s the difference between a regular gun and tonic and a Spanish-style gin and tonic cocktail? Well, for one thing the Spanish serve them in a balloon glass or a coupe glass rather than a tall glass. Also, they like to match the garnish to the flavour profile of the gin, and they like to make them strong – always a double measure, at the very least, though they also use more ice and tonic.
The Spanish are also very inventive in their gin and tonic cocktail creations, as this lovely little book makes clear. It has 40 recipes for gin and tonic cocktails in the Spanish style, using a wide variety of gins with different flavour profiles, and matching them not only with the right garnish but the right tonic too.
David T. Smith knows his gins, as he’s the Chair Judge and Gin Specialist for the International Wine and Spirit Competition. He also acts as a consultant for gin distillers, writes and talks about spirits for places such as BBC Radio and Distiller Magazine, and reviews gins on his own website, www.SummerFruitCup.com.
At 96 pages the book is small enough to fit in your pocket, but it proves that good things do come in small packages. It’s filled with thirst-inducing photos by Alex Luck, the kind of classy shots that make you want to reach inside the page and drink every one of the cocktails on offer.
The book begins with an introduction to gin and tonics, the earliest-known reference to which goes back to 1868. There’s then a page explaining how to create a perfectly-paired Gin Tonica, and advice on using ice and glassware. Yes, even the ice matters, if you’re seeking perfection. I didn’t realise that you need to use large ice cubes, as small ones will melt more quickly and start to water down the drink rather than merely chill it.
The author then gives a 9-step guide in how to make a Gin Tonica, including swirling the glass with ice cubes first, to chill it, before adding more ice cubes, and finally letting it stand for 30 seconds to allow the flavours time to mix well. If nothing else, the book will improve your gin and tonic skills.
Pretty in Pink
The 40 cocktail recipes then follow, divided into four sections: Classic, Contemporary, Experimental and Seasonal. The classics include a James Bond Gin Tonica, made with Gordon’s Yellow Label Gin at 47.3% ABV (yes, Bond liked them strong) and plain old Schweppes Tonic. The Pink Gin Tonica, using Angostura Bitters also sounds and looks good. What an easy way to add a dash of flair to your own creations.
The Seasonal cocktails show that you can enjoy a gin and tonic all year round, with recipes from autumnal and winter Gin Tonicas, as well as an impressive Halloween Gin Tonica and a totally decadent-looking Chocolate Gin Tonica.
Gin Tonica by David T. Smith is published by Ryland Peters and Small at £7.99 in the UK and $12.95 in the USA and is available on Amazon.