Gin and Tonic

published Sep 22, 2023
Gin and Tonic Recipe

Choose your gin, tonic, and citrus garnish, then master this classic cocktail at home in a matter of minutes.

Serves1

Prep5 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Front view of two gin and tonics in high ball glasses, each with a lime in them.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Lauren Radel

The gin and tonic (otherwise known as a G&T) is an iconic and classic cocktail that can be mastered in a matter of minutes. The recipe itself is simple, yet with so few ingredients, it’s important to choose your gin, tonic, and garnish carefully. I’ll walk you through how to make one at home and how to customize the drink to suit your taste preferences. 

Ingredients in a Gin and Tonic 

  • Gin: This botanical spirit has flavor profiles that can vary greatly depending on the brand and style. Traditional London dry gins are characterized by their juniper-forward flavor profile. Other more modern gins often dial down the juniper and instead focus on citrus and florals. It is a worthwhile venture to try several before discovering your personal favorite. 
  • Tonic water: Not all tonic waters are created equal. Some of the more mass-market and lower-priced ones are overly sweet and syrupy. Higher quality brands are dry with bitter notes from the quinine that pair perfectly with the piney juniper flavor in the gin. There are even light versions for the calorie-conscious. No matter what, make sure the tonic water is well-chilled before playing bartender.  
  • Citrus garnish: A wedge of lime is the most classic choice, but lemon or even grapefruit are great options as well. Not only does the garnish add a burst of color to the drink but a quick squeeze from the citrus brings just enough flavor to make all the components shine. 
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Lauren Radel

A Brief History of Gin and Tonic

This ubiquitous cocktail has its roots in British history. Soldiers stationed in India were given a less-than-delicious medicinal dose of quinine water to ward off malaria. They soon discovered mixing tonic with a ration of gin made it go down much easier.

When to Drink a Gin and Tonic

Gin and tonics are ideal for outdoor day drinking while soaking up the sunshine, but they also can certainly be paired with a meal. 

  • As a nod to its British heritage, gin and tonics pair well with cucumber finger sandwiches as a light afternoon snack. 
  • If you are looking to enjoy a G&T before dinner, try serving them alongside a charcuterie board. The effervescence of the cocktail counterbalances the richness of the meats and cheeses. 
  • A crisp gin and tonic is also well-suited for spicy cuisine. Try sipping one while enjoying something with significant heat, such as Pork Vindaloo

Gin and Tonic Recipe

Choose your gin, tonic, and citrus garnish, then master this classic cocktail at home in a matter of minutes.

Prep time 5 minutes

Serves 1

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • Ice

  • 2 ounces

    gin

  • 4 ounces

    chilled tonic water

  • 1

    lime, lemon, or grapefruit wedge

Instructions

  1. Fill a highball glass all the way to the top with ice cubes. Add 2 ounces gin, followed by 4 ounces chilled tonic water. Gently stir with a spoon to combine, being careful not to lose too much of the carbonation in the process. Run 1 citrus wedge around the rim of the glass. Squeeze the juice from the wedge into the cocktail, then drop the wedge into the glass.