Familiarity can breed contempt. Prior to the recent resurgence, such was the state of Britain’s relationship with the gin and tonic. The fire had gone out: it had become a cocktail of convenience.
It wasn’t always thus. Like all good love stories, British affection for the G&T was born in battle. It was a matter of life and death, with gin a neat base for getting the anti-malarial tonic of quinine into the bellies of the army of the British East India Company.
Now G&Ts are in vogue once more – supermarket shelves heave with fancy new varieties – and bars are increasingly mixing it up, most obviously with the rise of balloon glasses that mimic the Spanish way of serving the drink. The Spaniards, incidentally, love G&Ts at least as much as the British.
With so many gins available you could be forgiven for relying on the classics – Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire, Gordon’s, Beefeater, and even the upstart Hendricks – but let this be the summer of love: experiment; try something new.
Here are three gins worth investigating, even if it’s only a bit on the side.
LANGLEY’S NO. 8
Langley’s No. 8 is for those who like their G&T tasting of gin, with juniper, coriander, orange and lemon peel dominating. It’s made in the Langley distillery in the West Midlands. Creators Mark Dawkins and Mark Crump aimed to make something robust enough to stand up to even the most powerful tonic water on the market. They succeeded.
If you’re feeling experimental, ditch the lime and serve this G&T with grapefruit and basil. The grapefruit brings out the citrus and the basil releases the spiced notes of the coriander.
Available through Ocado, Harvey Nichols, thedrinkshop.com
Scotland doesn't only produce some of the best whiskies on the planet, they also make a fine gin. Caorunn is infused with five wild, foraged botanicals; rowan berry, dandelion, heather, bog myrtle and Coul Blush apple, which are handpicked by Distillery manager Simon Buley from the Scottish Highlands, and turned to gin in the Balmenach Distillery in the Speyside region.
Once again, leave the lemons and limes in the fridge and serve this G&T with a slice of red apple, which matches the crisp, floral notes of the gin.
There’s no denying Japan has a knack for improving the inventions of other nations. The country now challenges these isles when it comes to whisky, the Americans at beef and the Germans at transport; but Dee Davies, a young bartender from Somerset, has gone the other way, creating a Japanese inspired gin. Dee won a competition to create her dream spirit, which marries juniper berries, coriander and angelica with yuzu citrus fruit, Japanese cherry blossom and premium distilled Junmai sake.
Save your citrus for the Pimms. This G&T is best served with slice of green apple.
Available through 31dover.com