Good ‘Ole G & T


Good ‘Ole G & T


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Though a new generation of mixologists is dazzling us with exciting cocktails with all the smoke and foam, it’s easy to overlook foundational drinks — something as seemingly simple as the gin & tonic.

This illustrious cocktail, which had its start as an anti-malarial antidote in the heady days of the British Raj, has made a comeback in recent years, with the rise of small batch producers, artisan tonics, gin trolleys and “build your own G&T” options in restaurants.  Fanfare aside, it’s easy to forget that a gin & tonic cocktail only contains two modest ingredients. It’s that simplicity that’s driving the trend for new gin recipes impassioned with nuanced and complex flavour profiles.

To underscore its growing popularity, the first time this year, IWSC (International Wine & Spirit Competition) held a “Gin & Tonic” competition and received submissions from 150 distilleries. The winning cocktail came from Finland’s recently established Napue Gin, made from a total of 16 herbs including sea-buckthorn and meadowsweet, apparently giving the gin smooth and complex flavours.

The gin & tonic is a fairly easy cocktail to create on your own, with room for creativity yielding sophisticated results.  Lime, although the classic garnish, is no longer the requirement.  Instead fruits and herbs lend a beautiful presentation while enhancing the essences of the cocktail.

Nabbing rare and fine gin labels has become a form of bragging right; we like to think it’s a bit more hip(and less pricey) than its tan counterpart, the whisky.  See our suggestion for our favourite small batch gins below.

St. George Gin

Distilled near San Francisco, California, St. George gin has become a recent winner for gin and whisky lovers.   Producing a line of three unique gins, they’re boldly flavoured with tastes ranging from herbaceous to woody.

Sipsmith Gin

Very small batch, London style dry gin, revealing a fresh palate made from 10 botanicals.  And they’ve introduced a gin & tonic ice cream this year!

Monkey 47

A heavy and complex gin, from the Black Forest in Germany, Monkey 47 contains…47 ingredients, including cranberries!  Won gold medal for the best Gin in 2011 from IWSC.

Gin Mare

A beloved Spanish gin, aromatic and herbaceous, hinting at Mediterranean flavours including basil and arbequina olive.

Forest Gin

The husband and wife team behind this award winning gin uses foraged ingredients from the Macclesfield Forest in the UK.

Bathtub Gin

The name references the prohibition-era style of spirit making, but the result is anything but amateur.  The gin is uniquely created using a traditional method of cold compounding (infusion).  Produced in very small batches, the spirit exhibits a creamy mouthfeel nuanced with juniper and earthy scents.

(Photo credit: The International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) & Kyrö Distillery Company) 

Paul Calder

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