It is one of the simplest cocktails to make, yet the Gin and Tonic is still as classy in its own right. Did we say classy? Yes we meant it.
The good old G&T is made with just about four ingredients – gin, tonic, ice and garnish (lime) – and there you have the perfect summer combo.
The Gin and Tonic mix is largely linked to the British, but the tradition of adding tonic to gin really began with the Indians in 1700s. In 1825, British officers began to mix gin with their daily ration of quinine tonic as a way of fighting malaria.
Tonic water, back then, was infused heavily with quinine, an extract from the South American cinchona tree. Known among the indigenous population as the “fever tree” because its bark was able to stop chills, cinchona bark was first brought to Europe in the 1640s when it was shown to cure and prevent malaria.
However, the taste of tonic water in those days was bitter and harsh. But it was soon discovered that the addition of gin, sugar, ice, and citrus helped to reduce the bitterness, and the inclusion of limes prevented scurvy.
After the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857 (or the “Indian Mutiny”), the British Crown took over the governance of India from the British East India Company which led to growing number of Brits in India.
The increased demand for quinine that followed the British takeover led to the rise in popularity of the gin and tonic.
In spite of the long and winding history of the G& T, it is still a simple cocktail that you can make in the comfort of your house.
It may be different with chefs and food because most may want to stay away from old-timey dishes, but mixologists and bartenders will always be expected to tip their caps to the classic cocktails. These drinks have been honed perfectly for decades and never go out of style. Many of these classics are still made in the most avant-garde cocktail bars not just because they’re most perfect mixes but because they’re so unbelievably easy to make. So with less than a dozen different bottles, some ice, glassware and our tips, try your hands at being a competent at-home mixologist with the following easy classics.
Gin and Tonic
Gin and tonic was not the idea of some bored lover of alcohol who loved to try new things. In the 1800s, malaria was a problem India and the gentlemen in the army of the British East India Company took to mixing quinine with water, lime, sugar and gin so it was easier to take the medicine. Gin and tonic is great for the warm weather and obviously a healthy pick for all of us in Nigeria.
Just put some ice in a glass, pour your gin and tonic in whatever ratios you prefer, and garnish with a lime wedge.
Like with most cocktails, the margarita’s origins are murky but our favourite story is the one that says a Tijuana nightclub owner came up with the mix to impress a performer named Margarita Cansino who would later be known as Rita Hayworth. Whether you prefer it on the rocks or straight up, “the Marg” brings sweetness and acidity into perfect harmony.
All you need to do is put your tequila (2oz), lime juice (1oz) and Cointreau (1oz) in a shaker with ice and shake until the outside of the shaker develops a light frost after which you serve in your glass. If you prefer to rim your glass with salt, first rub a slice of lime around the glass’ edge then dip the rim in a plate that’s been coated with salt.
Daiquiri is said to have been invented in Santiago de Cuba by an American during the Spanish-American War. By the early-1900s, it made its way to America and became the favourite drink of everyone from JFK to Hemingway. Apparently, it was the late Sasha Petraske’s favourite drink. He’s one of the most influential personas in the modern cocktail revival, who helped his patrons learn how daiquiri should actually be made. This drink is a great combination of sweet, sour and strong. It’s as easy to make as it is to mess up.
Mix two ounces of white rum, an ounce of freshly-squeezed lime juice and three quarter ounce of simple syrup in a mixing glass and shake well before pouring in your coupe.
The Champagne Cocktail dates back to legendary barman Jerry Thomas. He wrote a book in 1862 titled How to Mix Drinks: Bon Vivant’s Companion, where he penned the standard recipe for a sparkling wine cocktail still being used today. In Thomas’ days, the champagne cocktail was known as “Chorus Girl’s Milk,” and it remains one of the few popular Champagne cocktails. Mixing the strength of brandy with the effervescent classiness of champagne, it’s hard to go wrong.
Just add two dashes of Angostura bitter and sugar cube into a Champagne flute. Then add one-third of an ounce of cognac and gently pour in three ounces of chilled champagne.
We presume this cocktail was first made in Manhattan, but whether this was at the snooty Manhattan Club in the 1870s or other locales on the isle in the previous years is still being debated. With this drink, you have the spiciness of whiskey balanced with the sweetness of fortified wine vermouth.
Stir two ounces of whiskey, one ounce of sweet vermouth and two dashes of Angostura bitters with cracked ice. Pour it into a coupe before you garnish with an orange twist.
Gin has a centuries-long history filled with interesting quips and tidbits with the first use of the spirit traced back to the 17th century. Common use of the phrase “gin-soaked” in describing people who over-imbibe is enough proof of gin’s rich history. Gin is perfect for mixing into cocktails mostly because it’s smooth liquor. It’s more popular than ever today, so it wouldn’t hurt to learn some simple serving options. Luckily, you don’t fancy equipment for most cocktails. All that matters is the love you put into making these.
Before you try making any of these gin cocktails, remember:
The key to making drinks is the balance between sweet and sour or bitter. It’s about not letting one element overpower the other.
Taste your drinks before you serve to make sure they’re good.
If you’re serving over ice, fill the glass to the top with it.
Make sure the garnish is fresh and stacked close to the straws.
Keep in mind that we all drink in three steps. With our eyes first, then with our nose and finally with our mouth.
These gin cocktails are the best not just because they taste great when mixed properly but because they’re come of the easiest to pull off.
A martini is one of the most popular alcohol beverages in the world. H.L. Mencken referred to it as “the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet”.
1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz dry vermouth
How to make Martini
All you need here is gin, dry vermouth, lemon and olives. Pour your gin and vermouth into a mixing glass filled ice cubes and stir well. Do not shake, stir. Pour this mix in a martini cocktail glass and squeeze oil from your lemon peel into it, after which you garnish with olive.
2. Gin and Tonic
This very well-known gin cocktail is such a phenomenon because its taste is quite different from the taste of its constituent liquids which tend to be bitter. The reason for this is the chemical structures of both ingredients are of a similar molecular shape and attract each other, shielding the bitter taste.
5 oz tonic water
2 oz gin
1 wedge of lime
How to make Gin and Tonic
Fill your glass with ice and add your gin and tonic. Garnish the mix with your lime wedge.
3. Gin Rickey
Created in Washington D.C. during an especially brutal heat wave in the 1980s before air-conditioning existed, the gin rickey is a refreshingly bubbly and pleasantly bitter cocktail.
Squeeze as much lime juice as you can into a Collins glass filled with ice. Add your dry gin and club soda, then your splash of lime syrup.
4. Gin Fizz
The gin fizz is the most popular in the fizz family. Its defining features are an acidic juice like lemon or lime with carbonated water.
3 oz soda
1 oz simple syrup
2 oz sloe gin
3/4 oz lemon juice
How to make Gin Fizz
Shake the sloe gin, lemon juice and simple syrup vigorously with ice in a mixing glass. Pour into an ice-filled Collins glass, and top with a club soda or seltzer.
Negroni is said to have originated from 1919 Florence, Italy when Count Camillo Negroni asked the bartender, Fosco Scarselli, to strengthen his favourite cocktail, the Americano, by adding gin rather than the normal soda water. Scarselli also added an orange garnish instead of the typical lemon garnish used in mixing the Americano.
Want to have some cocktail fun at home all by yourself? There’s no need to break the bank or muddle recipes up. Here are 7 simple do-it-yourself cocktails that are easy to prepare and serve to your guests.
Captain Morgan White Rum (50 ml)
(1 dash) Soda Water
(2 tsps.) Caster Sugar
2 Lime Wedges
1 Mint Sprig
In a mixing glass, mix caster sugar and lime wedges together using a pestle or a large spoon to extract lime flavour and aroma.
Mash about 12 leaves from the mint sprigs together with the lime and sugar.
Add crushed ice to about three-fourths of the glass.
Pour the rum and dash of soda.
Use a spoon to stir the drink thoroughly.
Garnish with a few crushed mint leaves and add crushed ice. Serve cold.
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