When you think if the traditional gin and tonic, you may recall the simple recipe: Two ounces of gin — most likely Hendricks, Bombay Sapphire, or Tanqueray — topped with four to six ounces of tonic water. A lime for garnish and, bam, you have a light, fresh sipper that’s perfect for just about any time of the day.
The gin and tonic is back in the spotlight this year, as this classic cocktail has found itself in the center of a gin revolution. The influx of new styles of the spirit hitting the market has given the tipple new life.
From new botanical flavor infusions to more savory flavor notes, here are a few of the most unique gins your palate will thank you for trying.
Bimini: If you’re looking for a light spirit to give you a hint of the tropics, Bimini has just what you’re craving in its coconut gin. Using the same base distillate known for its unique flavor profile of soft juniper, hops, and grapefruit, natural coconut flavor is added through a fat-washing process. Fair Trade Certified, extra virgin coconut oil to a liquid state before adding it to their unfiltered gin distillate for an extended maceration. The mixture is then chilled until the coconut oil becomes solid and can be strained out. The resulting coconut flavor is natural, dry, and well balanced with the gin botanicals and one of the best summer drinks you’re not yet sipping on (but should be!).
Black Button Distilling: Lilac? In a gin? All of the yes. Black Button Distilling, a grain-to-glass distillery based in Rochester, NY, created this gin to celebrate the area’s annual lilac festival. Now, the coveted gin is available online, too. It’s created with a blend of juniper, coriander, lilac petals, rosemary, lavender, rose petals, hibiscus petals, lemon peel, angelica root, and peach. Each flower petal is steeped, distilled, and recombined to create this super fresh, extremely floral sipper.
Empress 1908: If you think the most impressive thing about this gin is the color, you would be wrong. But, it definitely sets you up for some excitement from the start. Black tea and butterfly pea steal the show here, while traditional botanicals play supporting roles. The result is a drink that not only looks like summer, but tastes delicious.
Hendricks: Hendricks, one of the stars of the gin and tonic in its own right, is keeping things fresh. It has released Lunar, Midsummer Solstice and Orbium to grace your classic cocktail with something a bit more fun. Lunar has notes of floral, baked spices and zesty citrus; Midsummer Solstice is a limited-edition small batch gin that is light, crisp and extra floral; and Orbium takes gin up a level, offering a bit of bitterness on the finish.
Indoggo: Snoop Dog is coming in to the spirits market hot with Indoggo, a strawberry flavored gin. Mixed with seven other botanicals and a bit of citrus Indoggo will take any gin and tonic to the next level.
Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin: This brand pays homage to the Indian culture with a blend of juniper and herbs taken from around the country. Coriander, lemon grass, licorice, caraway seeds, cubeb berries, orange peel, Darjeeling green tea, lemon peel and vetiver make for an extra complex, layered cocktail that’s still perfect for patio sipping.
Malfy: This Italian gin makes it easy to think you are sipping an aperitif on the Amalfi Coast instead of in your own backyard. The brand’s lemon style is definitely a must-have on the bar cart, with notes of lemon and juniper for a refreshing take on gin and tonic. But it doesn’t stop there. Malfy also has orange blossom and grapefruit versions of its gins, so there is a gin and tonic waiting for everyone.
Tamworth Distilling: While Tamworth has a slew of interesting gins, the one that is destined to give your gin and tonic the biggest kick is its Garden Thai Chili Gin. Done in conjunction with the famed (and local) Chang Thai Cafe, this gin combines Thai chilis and lime leaf for a citrus finish.
Tanqueray: In partnership with pop star Joe Jonas, the brand recently released Tanqueray Sevilla Orange. The new spirit is designed to be a vibrant orange flavored gin inspired by the taste of Seville oranges and the warmth of the Mediterranean. Tanqueray calls it “Sunshine in a glass.” We call it the next big brunch drink.
Wölffer Estate: Pink gins definitely had their moment, but this sipper is one that is poised to stick around. Infused with the brand’s rosé wine, the gin is also infused with juniper berries, five botanicals, and lime rind, giving it the perfect bite. While regular tonic water will do, you won’t want to stop drinking these if its blended with a Mediterranean-style option.