Miguel Lancha, the beverage director at José Andrés' Jaleo in Las Vegas, says you don't have to overthink it.
It's no secret that gin and tonics rule Spain's cocktail scene.
"In Spain, gin-tonic is not just a cocktail, it is an obsession,” José Andrés tells Food & Wine. Naturally, the Las Vegas location of his restaurant Jaleo takes gin and tonics incredibly seriously—from tonic choice, to aromatics, to the precise variety of serving glass.
Miguel Lancha, Jaleo's beverage director, offered a few tips to making the perfect gin and tonic.
1. Upgrade your garnish.
"The aromatics are so important in drinks in general, but especially in such a refreshing and simple drink as the G&T," he says. "The choice of herbs, or the expression of the citrus oils from the peels, even the addition of a dash or two of bitters."
At Jaleo, you'll find the "Cítrico" G&T takes this ethos to a whole level: with grapefruit, lemon, coriander, and mint offer that powerful herbaceousness that separates a perfectly fine gin and tonic from a mind-blowing one.
We also love Jaleo's "Hierba," which features rosemary and pink peppercorn.
2. Pay close attention to your gins and your tonics.
This one may seem obvious, but many people don't always take the time to taste tonics and gins individually before deciding which ones pair best together. Lancha has two favorite tonic waters that he finds work best with a variety of gins.
"I tend to like one or two tonic waters that can support any G&T, as a benchmark, and then play more around the gin and the (aromatic) garnish," says Lancha.
Two tonics that make frequent appearances in the Jaleo G&Ts? Fever-Tree tonic water and Jack Rudy tonic.(Look for tonics made with natural sugars, not high-fructose corn syrup.)
"Sometimes I find that a particular gin works beautiful with a particular tonic water, based on the size and quality of the bubbles (from tonic), as well as its acidity, sweetness or bitterness, with which I don’t want to bother and add 'noise' to the gin and the garnishes, which I prefer to showcase," he says.
3. Choose one or two bold flavors, not a million.
"Sometimes, adding too many factors just results in overthinking a drink that is simple and delicious," says Lancha.
4. Use a bigger ice cube.
A larger ice cube—just one—will keep the cocktail chilled as you sip, without watering it down.