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The G&T
by Vernon Chalker
Magazine Issue: U.S. Vol. 5.3

(image by Albert Comper)

Could there be a more perfect drink? Douglas Adams wrote in his novel, Restaurant at the End of the Universe, that every culture in the universe has the gin and tonic, and there're millions of ways of spelling it. It's a symbol of civilization. It certainly evolved in a civilized manner, enabling one to enjoy gin while at the same time drinking quinine to protect from malaria. Neither gin nor tonic alone is nearly as enjoyable as the combination over ice with lemon.

The drink was invented by the British in India early in the 20th century. I imagine some stiff upper lip military types were instructed to drink a tonic with quinine for their health and decided to add a slug of diplomatic strength gin to make it a more jolly experience. I don't know what the availability of ice and fresh lemon in colonial India was; however, the G&T is certainly not the same without it. Properly made, it's the most refreshing drink ever conceived and is no doubt best drunk on a hot afternoon. I love drinking gin in martinis; however, martinis are strictly urban, whereas a G&T is no more out of place on the back porch of a cattle station than it is in a swanky cocktail bar.

I prefer to use a more fragrant gin such as Bombay Sapphire or Plymouth, and I prefer Schweppes Tonic from a glass bottle. I don't know what it is about plastic bottles, but the contents of such don't taste the same and go flat very quickly. I like to use a highball or a large old fashion glass. Fill the glass with ice. Pour a large measure of gin over the ice. I almost half fill mine, as I like to taste the gin. Top up with fresh tonic water and garnish with a wedge of lemon. It must be a wedge so it can be squeezed into the drink if so desired. It looks refreshing, it tastes refreshing, it is refreshing. And it looks fabulous on the dance floor under ultra violet light.

At the Gin Palace, we have our own version, which is the martini you have when you really feel like a gin and tonic. Take a large Libby Gibraltar glass (we call it a "fuck off" glass), fill it with ice, three shots of gin, a squeeze of lemon and a splash of tonic water. That's a Gin Macchiato.

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