Gin and tonic is a classic mixed drink up there in popularity with mixed drinks such as a tall Cape Cod (vodka cranberry), tequila & soda, or a rum and coke.
As the name suggests, it’s a drink made with gin and tonic mixed and garnished with lime. If you have always wanted to try one but don’t quite know how to order it, we have you covered.
Here is everything you need to know about how to order gin and tonic like a boss!
Considerations Before Ordering a Gin and Tonic
Which Gin To Choose
The gin you choose is important because though the tonic has some flavor, the gin typically overtakes it as the dominant flavor profile. If you haven’t ever ordered this cocktail you probably don’t drink gin very often or have a particular brand that you prefer.
There are two main aspects to consider when choosing gin. The first is knowing the four types, and the second is the quality, which is usually broken down into “well,” “call,” and “top-shelf.”
Types of Gin
The four types include London Dry, Plymouth, Old Tom, and Genever. Each of them offers a very different taste.
London Dry is what everyone thinks of when they think of gin and is the type most bars carry. It originated in England, though it’s now produced all over the world. It has a strong juniper taste which is botanical with notes of citrus.
Plymouth is actually a style of gin, and only one distillery makes it, which is one of the oldest recorded distilleries in the UK. Plymouth is drier with a heavier citrus profile and a bitter finish from its unique blend of seven botanicals.
Old Tom is a sweetened gin that is usually done by adding licorice in the distillation process though many companies are creating their own twists.
Genever is actually the original type, originating in Holland. It is much more robust than the others because it uses malted base grain, which contributes to an earthy and rich flavor profile.
You’ll want to go with a London dry for a gin and tonic, so the question is which one! Let’s talk quality. A “well” drink might be the cheapest, but it is the worst quality and won’t taste as good, especially as a two-ingredient cocktail.
Quality of Gin
When you order mixed drinks with only a couple of ingredients, like a gin and tonic, we recommend going with a “call” brand, which is a mid-range quality spirit. In this case, “call” brands include Tanqueray, Bombay, and Beefeater.
Botanist Islay Dry and Nolet’s Reserve are two top-shelf brands; however, there is no need to spend the extra money unless you are sipping it straight.
Flavored vs. Sweetened vs. Traditional Tonic
Now that we have the gin covered, we can move on to the tonic part. The three types of tonic are flavored, sweetened, and traditional tonic. Flavored and sweetened tonic waters are just as the names suggest, and the traditional tonic is an unsweetened, more bitter variation.
The most commonly used is sweetened tonic water. Despite what you might think, it’s not overwhelming, just complementary to the botanicals in the gin.
However, the best tonic water comes from the bars that make their own tonic syrup and mix it with club soda.
How to Order A Gin and Tonic
Now we are going to take the information from above and use it to order a gin and tonic like a boss! The simple formula for ordering this mixed drink is “size + specific brand + tonic.”
Regarding sizing, you can order a tall gin and tonic, where the drink is served in a tall glass with more tonic, or a short one, which is heavier on the gin.
Putting it all together as an example, to order a tall gin and tonic, you’ll say, “Could I get a tall Bombay and tonic, please?” Alternatively, if you want your drink served in a small glass, you’ll ask for a “short Tanqueray and tonic.”
Alternatives to Ordering a Gin and Tonic
Gin and Ginger
A Gin and Ginger with ginger beer tastes similar to a Moscow mule except with more floral flavors. Some bartenders make the mistake of assuming it’s made with ginger ale, though that is a tasty drink as well. The ginger ale version is actually called Gin Buck. You may just want to clarify what you want by asking for a gin and ginger beer specifically.
A Gin Fizz is a fantastic drink if you still want a mellow cocktail that highlights the aromatics of the gin. It is made with gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and soda water. This is a refreshing, more citrusy alternative to a G&T.
If gin isn’t really your thing after trying it, consider going with a vodka and tonic instead. Vodka is much more neutral, so a good tonic is essential to this drink.
Whether you usually order a tap beer, house wine, well drink, whiskey neat, or just a shot straight up, gin and tonic is a cocktail that will satisfy a wide range of palettes. With so many choices, it can be a bit intimidating to order a new cocktail, but not to worry. Use this guide and feel confident to order gin and tonic to try next time you’re out at the bar!