- The best way to make a gin and tonic doesn’t involve lemon or lime.
- That’s according to Bombay Sapphire’s Senior Ambassador Sam Carter.
- He says a gin and tonic should be served with ginger and mint and lots of ice from a balloon glass.
- It should also be one part gin, two parts tonic.
There are a number of things people do wrong when buying, ordering, and drinking gin – especially when it comes to making the perfect gin and tonic.
Business Insider visited Bombay Sapphire’s Senior Ambassador Sam Carter at the brand’s Laverstoke Mill distillery just outside of London, where all of the Bombay Sapphire in the world is made.
With 22 years of experience in the drinks industry, Carter has been ambassador for Bombay Sapphire since 2009 – and over the years he has perfected the gin and tonic.
Choose the right glass
To make the most of a gin and tonic, you should be serving your drink in a balloon glass, according to Carter – and you shouldn’t use a straw.
“In the UK, they’re not the easiest thing to store in bars – under the shelves, they’re quite big – so you can also use a burgundy red wine glass,” he added.
Both glasses work because they channel the aroma towards the nose.
“90 to 95% of taste comes from what we smell,” Carter said. “So much flavour comes from the aroma. That’s why these glasses work so well – your nose is right in there.”
Say no to lemon or lime – and go for mint and ginger
When you go to a bar and ask for a gin and tonic, they will usually put a slice of lemon or lime in your drink – but more often than not, they have been sat around in water for some time, according to Carter.
“They’re left for like a day and have gone brown on the edges and it just adds a real fusty, mustiness to it,” he said. “What is that even adding?
“Just because we did it 10, 20, 30 years ago and our parents did it, doesn’t mean we have to do it.”
He said Bombay don’t use lime or lemon in their gin and tonics. Instead, the drinks come with a fresh mint sprig and a ginger slice. “These two flavours pull on two of the botanicals in the gin,” he said, adding that you should put the ginger in the glass first, then add the gin, then the tonic, then the ice followed by a mint sprig.
Last season, the company even used watercress in their gin and tonic.
“It’s all about using local – it’s what chefs have been doing for years and years, [so] there’s no reason why we can’t do it in the drinks industry.”
One part gin, two parts tonic
This is the best way to make sure your drink is balanced, according to Carter.
Use loads of ice
“The mistake I see a lot, all day, every day, is that people don’t put enough ice in their gin and tonic,” Carter said. “There’s a massive misconception that people don’t want too much dilution, so they put one or two ice cubes in there, and they melt really quickly.”
However, he said it’s actually the opposite if you want your drink to stay cold, because if there’s more ice in the glass, it melts more slowly.
“The more ice the better,” he said.
Use good quality tonic
A good quality tonic can make all the difference to your drink.
Carter often uses Fever Tree, which he says is made with natural flavours, but he’s also a fan of Schweppes Cucumber Tonic.
Another big tip on tonic from Carter? “The temptation is to go for a litre bottle for value for money,” he said. “If you’re serving a crowd, totally go for a litre bottle, but if it’s just you and a partner drinking one gin and tonic per night, by the third night it’s going to be flat.
“You’re better off biting the bullet and going for smaller, more expensive cans,” he said, adding that you’ll be able to keep your tonic fresh by ony opening one per day.
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