How to Make a Perfect Gin and Tonic

For an easy-drinking, effortless cocktail, nothing beats a G&T. Learn how to make this classic cocktail with our super simple gin and tonic recipe.

A well-made gin and tonic is beautiful in its simplicity. With its easy-drinking, refreshing qualities, there’s nothing like a gin and tonic to cool you down during the dog days of summer or get you ready to dig into dinner. Complex in flavor yet effortless to make, the standard gin and tonic recipe is not only easy to follow, but easy to build on to if you’re feeling fancy. Here’s everything you need to know about this classic cocktail.

Love gin? So do we! Here’s a roundup of our favorite gin cocktail recipes.

What does a gin and tonic taste like?

A classic gin and tonic is bright and zesty. Juniper, coriander and citrus all jump out of the glass to meet your senses. These vibrant aromas are balanced out by the light, bittersweet flavor of the tonic water. Add a slice of lime and you have the quintessential cocktail.

P.S. You should know how to make these classic drinks by the time you turn 30.

What are the best ingredients for a gin and tonic?

First off, there’s the gin. London dry gin is the go-to style for a gin and tonic. Despite its name, London dry can come from anywhere in the world. While the exact flavors vary slightly, you can expect your classic London dry to have juniper, coriander and citrus notes. It’s clean and bright—exactly what you want in a gin and tonic. Beefeater, Plymouth and Bombay Sapphire are three common brands.

You can also opt for pink gin to make your G&T. Pink gin is fruitier thanks to the addition of red fruits like strawberry, raspberry and currants. If you love juicy fruit flavors, swap pink gin for London dry. Look for pink gin from Beefeater, Gordon’s and others.

Oh, and your options don’t stop with the gin. There are a few other easy ways to put a spin on a gin and tonic. The simplest personal touch you can add is the garnish. The classic G&T calls for a wedge of fresh lime, but you can use a few cucumber slices, a mix of grapefruit and orange slices, summer berries or fresh herbs from your garden.

You can also pick up a bottle of flavored tonic water to introduce another layer of flavor to your cocktail. (Nope, tonic isn’t the same as seltzer water. Here’s the difference.)

How to Make a Gin and Tonic

You don’t need any fancy bar equipment to craft the perfect G&T. As far as cocktails go, it’s one of the simplest to make. This recipe serves one, but it’s easy to to double, triple or more.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. London dry gin
  • 4 oz. tonic water
  • 2 fresh lime wedges (or garnish of your choice)

Step 1: Chill your glass

Fill a highball glass with ice cubes. Let it stand for a few minutes in order for the glass to get nice and cool.

Step 2: Build your cocktail

If your ice has melted significantly, go ahead and replace it with fresh ice. Once your glass has chilled, pour the gin over the ice then fill the glass with tonic water.

Step 3: Garnish and sip

Crown your gin and tonic with fresh lime wedges or the garnish of your choice. Enjoy!

Is gin and tonic a healthy drink?

While any alcohol you consume should be in moderation, a gin and tonic is one of the healthier cocktails you can choose. Per ounce, gin has 73 calories and tonic water clocks in at just 10 calories. And since it only has two main components (just like these other classic cocktails), a gin and tonic doesn’t rack up the same calories as more complex cocktails. What’s more, if you’re watching your calorie count, you can switch regular tonic for diet, or cut down to 1-1/2 ounces of gin.

Plus, juniper berry, the major flavor behind gin, boasts several important health benefits. These small blue-hued berries can aid digestion and reduce bloating. They are also rich in antioxidants which may have immune boosting and anti-inflammatory properties.

That said, alcohol is alcohol and too much isn’t a good thing. You can have your gin and drink it too, just don’t go overboard.

Ready to take it up a notch? Here’s how to make the classic Aviation cocktail (a Pre-Prohibition drink that’s making a huge comeback!).

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Camille Berry
Part of the third generation in a family of restaurateurs, Camille was born with a passion for cooking and food. She embarked on a career in hospitality where she excelled as a sommelier and wine director. This hospitality experience has given her a wealth of first-hand knowledge about how to pair all manner of drinks with food—plus some serious kitchen skills. These days, she's hung up her wine key in favor of a pen and covers all aspects of food and drink.