Colonial Gin & Tonic
We all know what a good old G&T can do for the soul. It parts the clouds, stops the rain, let’s in the sun in and sets your shoulders on a dancing trajectory. It is equal to tea as the national drink of Britain and is a cocktail that far exceeds the sum of its parts.
The Colonial G&T isn’t just us messing around with one of the all time greats; it’s a way to explore the history of this fantastic drink. This ventures way, way back to Gin and Tonic’s first date – prior to the days of mass carbonation, happy hours and ‘just the one’ Wednesdays.
How to make a Colonial Gin & Tonic:
60ml Martin Miller’s Gin
15ml tonic syrup (we recommend BTW)
10ml lime juice
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake hard and fast. Strain into a rocks glass with ice and get sipping.
A brief, inebriated history:
Gin and Tonic was originally a concoction created to administer quinine to the troops, but the drink was not quite the one we’re accustomed to today. Initially it was most likely administered as a pill to be washed down with the daily ration of gin (or made into syrup and mixed in) – quinine was absolutely offensive to taste. And let’s not get too carried away with praise for the saviour of this situation – while the quinine cordials were foul, the gins of the era had very little to celebrate either.
Still, we were curious to catch a glimpse of this ancestry, so we were most excited when the folks at Martin Miller’s Gin thought of a way to create a modern interpretation that would fit today’s palate, using a tonic reduction comprised of: 1l Fever-Tree tonic, 6 crushed juniper berries, 6 black peppercorns, 12 coriander seeds, 1 whole zest of lemon, half a pink grapefruit zest and two green cardamom pods.
The spices were given a hell of a bruising via pestle and mortar, then added to a pan with the citrus peel, where the zest was gently pressed to extract the oils. Tonic water was added and the liquid heated until it had reduced by half. The mixture was then sieved and left to cool.
As much of a faff as this is to make, it makes for an utterly delightful, tongue-bruisingly complex drink and really brings to life the history of the cocktail. Short and more intense, it’s ideal for those who like the flavours in a G&T’s but don’t want to drink something carbonated.
Luckily for you, dear readers, tonic syrup is now readily available to buy on both sides of the Atlantic. Bermondsey Tonic Water selling their version in the UK, Jack Rudy catering to the US market and ¾ Ounce Tonic taking pride of place in Canada. For an enjoyable history lesson with the the home made reduction, grab a bottle and get cracking!
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