Shaken not stirred. James Bond’s martini cocktail instructions are now a part of popular culture but not even many Bond fans might remember his recipe for the Gin and Tonic in Dr No (the first James Bond film based on the book published in 1958). The James Bond version features a double gin and tonic with a whole green lime that he sips on a balcony with a view of the Caribbean coastline. It’s the perfect setting for a classic Gin and Tonic on a sultry day. It wasn’t James Bond who mastered the art of a classic G & T. It happened a couple of centuries ago in India.
Legend has it that Mary Edith Keyburn, a G&T fan passed away at the age of 95 on October 19, 2010, with a gin and tonic by her side. Gradually this day (thanks to social media) became International Gin and Tonic Day. But the G&T is a phenomenon that is synonymous with colonial India. It was the Spanish who first used quinine from the bark of the Cinchona trees to treat malaria. A remedy they learned from the indigenous peoples of South America. George Cleghorn a Scottish physician also studied how quinine could be used to prevent malaria. It was integrated into tonic water.
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In the early 19th century, Presidency armies added a mixture of water, sugar, lime and gin paving the way for the Gin and Tonic as we know it. British officers back then were given a gin ration as part of their rations. The first commercial tonic water dates back to 1858. The first known mention of a gin and tonic was in Oriental Sporting Magazine in 1868 where it was positioned as a refreshing cocktail for racing spectators. The quinine content reduced as malaria became less of a threat and as a consequence, tonic waters are less bitter than in the past.
1. The Classic G&T
The most simple recipes are usually the most complex. This holds true for the G&T which is essentially two parts tonic and one part of gin. But even if the ratio goes slightly wrong it could make the cocktail too botanical or too watered down (if there’s too much tonic water).
- Fill a glass (ideally a highball glass) with ice and add 60 ml of gin.
- Top up with tonic water (120 ml) and stir gently.
- Garnish with lime wheels or any seasonal garnish.
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Recipe by – Ramu Dasari, The Leela Bhartiya City, Bengaluru
This exotic version features frozen camomile cubes carefully paired with plum cordial, fresh turmeric, honey and finally a London Dry Gin topped with tonic and concluding with the garnish of charred lemon and yuzu caviar. It starts with the initial caramelised citrus hints followed by the overwhelming mellowness of plum and the piquancy of the turmeric.
Stir the following ingredients and garnish with charred/Demerara caramelised lemon wedge and yuzu caviar
- Fresh Lemon Juice: 25 ml
- Homemade Honey Turmeric Shrub: 15 ml
- Plum Oleosacharum: 10 ml (cold-pressed syrup)
- Gin: 60 ml
- Tonic: Topped
- Ice: Camomile and Basil Ice Blocks
Happy International Gin And Tonic Day 2023!
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About Ashwin RajagopalanI am the proverbial slashie – a content architect, writer, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. School lunch boxes are usually the beginning of our culinary discoveries.That curiosity hasn’t waned. It’s only got stronger as I’ve explored culinary cultures, street food and fine dining restaurants across the world. I’ve discovered cultures and destinations through culinary motifs. I am equally passionate about writing on consumer tech and travel.