By James Dempsey

The Gin and Tonic is the first mixed drink that everyone gets to know, a refreshing splash that soothes the palette on a hot summer’s day. It looks so innocent, an ever-so-slightly blue tinged lemonade, it is the simplest cocktail of them all. A shot of gin cut through with fizzing tonic, cooled by ice and offset by a slice of something citric.

But for all its allusions to sophistication, the G & T has a place in the history of medicine and at the centre of the expanding European empires.

By Jeffrey Morgenthaler

I began my first experiments with house-made tonic water in 2007. I was looking for a tonic with more assertive flavors and natural ingredients than those found in commercial tonic water: A glance at the standard-issue tonic available at most bars and restaurants reveals the lack of flavor even before you open the bottle. Just look at the ingredients: water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, sodium benzoate, and quinine. I thought we could do better.

Conversely, my issue with most homemade tonic water was that it had too assertive a flavor profile for the general public. My first recipe was lauded by bartenders and home mixologists all over the Internet and in newspapers, but I personally found it to be muddy, dirty, earthy, and, quite frankly, a bit tough to drink.

New Ginfographic maps out Scottish gins

By Maureen McKendry

Is gin overtaking whisky as Scotland’s national drink? Too bold a claim, maybe. But when you consider 70% of all UK gin is now produced north of the border, Scottish gin deserves to be recognised as a serious industry.

With this is mind, 5pm.co.uk has created a new ginfographic which you can use as a guide to learn about Scottish gins, try the recommended garnishes and make your standard G&T more interesting.

In search of the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, an imaginary 1970’s cocktail from space
by Jess Zimmerman

There are four cocktails I know how to make offhand, with the right proportions and everything. They are the Manhattan, the Boulevardier, the Negroni, and the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster.

The Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster is, of course, the most famous and dangerous of all spacefaring mixed drinks. It was invented by Douglas Adams for his 1978 radio show (and later stage show, and book series, and TV program, and movie) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, although according to Adams it was invented by Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed president of the galaxy. It is considered highly inadvisable to drink more than two at once; the drink’s effect is described as “like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.”

Read more about this drink – which consists of many ingredients. One bottle of Ol’ Janx Spirit. One measure of water from the seas of Santraginus V. Three cubes of Arcturan mega-gin, properly iced to preserve the benzene. Four liters of Fallian marsh gas. A measure of Qalactin hypermint extract, floated over the back of a silver spoon. The tooth of an Algolian suntiger. A sprinkle of Zamphuor. And an olive.

Stirred not shaken, Mr. Bond.
By ETHAN WOLFF

Making a standout martini requires both art and science. There also seems to be a little magic, especially when it’s being mixed by an expert bartender. Crafting the perfect martini isn’t nearly as tricky as it looks, though. Eamon Rockey, general manager of the Michelin-starred Betony in midtown Manhattan, is known for the innovation of his bar program (he’s provided major momentum for the milk-punch craze), but he’s also well-versed in the art of the perfect martini. He walks Details through the making of a classic. “It ain’t rocket science,” he says. “You just have to do a few steps well.”

By Deborah Arthurs

Gin is your life-force, your friend. The drink you turn to to start a night, to precede a meal, to accompany a meal and to see the night off.

It makes your days better and your nights wilder. It makes you new friends and helps you keep the ones you’ve got.
It tastes like nothing else. And you can’t get enough.

Here are 17 signs you are in a relationship with gin.

1. You think about gin when you’re not with it
“Ooh, can’t wait for my gin when I get home tonight,” you say at 11am.

2. You secretly think gin is superior to all other drinks
Actually you don’t secretly think it. You know it. So sophisticated.

3. You truly believe gin units don’t count
You don’t consider drinking a gin and tonic to be actually drinking alcohol, hence you can have two before you even open the wine.

4. You don’t understand how other people can’t like gin
But it’s gin!

5. And you try to convert them.
“But you haven’t tried this gin.”

By Andrew Barrow

If you hadn’t noticed, gin is a bit of a thing at the minute. Its popularity seems to know no bounds with new artisanal distilleries popping up across the country, gin bars’ pop-ups and cocktail bars are simply huge at the moment. I know of at least two tours in London where you can go and pick the botanticals and brew your own bottle. Indeed I’ve been on one tour at the Central London Distillery and had a rare time deciding on whether another gram of orris root or rose petal would make a difference.

Know Your Gin Catagories

Gins fall into four broad categories: Juniper-led where the juniper dominates the aroma quite powerfully. Citrus-led gins have prominent zesty citrus notes and sometimes a spicy or earthy edge. Floral-led gins are lighter and more delicate with a fragrant sweetness. It is these that make for a good introduction if you are unsure. Finally we have the Herbaceous-led gins that are more forceful and distinctive and often have more unusual ingredients to give a unique distinctiveness. The herbaceous gins have a natural affinity with cucumber, try using a slice as a garnish over lime or lemon.

By Thom Meintel

If you ask anyone at Bulldog Gin be prepared for more than a one word answer. In fact, if you’re a bartender, be prepared to learn all about something called The Modern Gin & Tonic Challenge, which culminated in September after a six-month search across the U.S. You see, Bulldog is no ordinary gin and this was no ordinary contest. It was the first chance for the brand to show its personality to the bartending community on a national scale so it was all stops out.

What did they do differently? How about for starters dangling a carrot in the form of a trip to the jet set party island of Ibiza as the prize? Preceded by a night on the town in trendy Barcelona, of course, to learn all about the famous “Spanish Serve”, the flashy mixing craze formulated around a standard G&T. Having already gained formidable momentum all over Europe, the out of the box method unleashes extravagant garnishes, exotic tonics and unusual liqueurs upon the perennial favorite.

By Jessica Rapp

Unusually shaped glass bottles, slick interior design, and copper equipment: no, it’s not another hip craft brewpub or speakeasy in Brooklyn, but a rather different experiment undertaken by one local cocktail aficionados in Beijing.

The Distillery, a new bar in Beijing which showcases cocktails made with mother’s ruin, appears to prove that the boutique gin trend sweeping the globe has not skipped China. While The Distillery’s opening has more or less coincided with niche gins from the likes of Oregon and Philadelphia landing in China’s first-tier cities, the bar itself offers samplers from super-premium brands that have already been in the country for a few years. It’s a scene that would excite even the casual gin enthusiast. Yet there’s one problem, at least according to The Distillery co-founder Bill Isler’s target consumers are not the growing Chinese middle class. At least not yet.