Gin & Tonic

The herbaceous, juniper-forward flavor of botanical London Dry Gin is perfectly carried by tonic water's sweetness.

Gin and Tonic
Photo: Guillermo Riveros / Food Styling by Oset Babür-Winter
Active Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
5 mins
1 drink

The Gin and Tonic is one of Todd Thrasher's favorite cocktails, but with two conditions: The ice must be large enough to melt slowly, and the tonic should be high quality. Thrasher is a veteran bartender and owner of Washington D.C's Tiki TNT restaurant, as well as the distiller of Thrasher's Rum. Though his conditions for the cocktail are simple, they are full of wisdom. What separates a mediocre Gin and Tonic from an excellent one is ultimately the quality of the ingredients and the care taken to prepare it.

Despite the drink's intrinsic simplicity, its long history and fascinating story behind the ingredients are full of complexity. Real tonic water is made with quinine, a bitter harvest from the bark of the cinchona tree which throughout history has been used medicinally to prevent and treat malaria. The politics of quinine and the cinchona tree are complicated and tangled in a dark history of colonialism; indigenous populations in South America harvested the bark of the native cinchona tree to treat malaria, which when discovered by European conquistadors, enabled colonial aggression without the threat of malaria. In the early 19th century, British officers in the East India Company mixed the medicinal quinine solution with a bit of sugar, gin, and water to make it more palatable. The cocktail quickly gained persistent popularity throughout the colonial world. Since quinine isn't used medicinally nowadays, tonic water has just trace amounts of the bitter elixir for flavoring purposes. Plus, modern-day tonic has a lot more sugar than its medicinal counterpart did, which brings balance.

Though the pairing of gin with tonic is historically relevant, the duo unsurprisingly also make for a good match when it comes to flavor — the herbaceous, juniper-forward flavor of botanical London Dry Gin is perfectly carried by tonic water's sweetness. While there are excellent pre-packaged Gin and Tonics on the market, nothing beats a freshly made, perfectly cold, effervescent G&T.


  • Ice

  • 1 1/2 ounces gin, preferably Tanqueray

  • 4 ounces chilled tonic water, Fever Tree

  • 2 or 3 lime wedges, for garnish


  1. Fill a chilled highball glass with ice. Add the gin and tonic water and stir well. Garnish with the lime wedge.

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