​How to make gin and tonic

Want to know how to make a gin and tonic?
You need quality gin and premium tonic, a good quality cold glass, large ice cubes and a garnish that harmonises or balances your G&T. And stir it to ensure consistency of taste.

Follow these steps to make a gin and tonic that you'll love:

1. Use a top class gin and a top quality mixer. Stint on either, and your G&T won't be great.

2. Don't drown the gin with tonic. You can add more mixer but you can't take mixer out!

3. Use plenty of ice. Big cubes are best as they melt more slowly than small ones.

4. Use a garnish that either harmonises or balances the drink. Or don't garnish at all.

5. Use a good glass - heaviness affects the way you rate your drink! Heavy = quality.

6. Stir at the end to ensure each taste is consistent.

The perfect G&T will be different for different people, but these main principles apply to everyone.

If you're looking for a truly great gin for a gin and tonic, we suggest our gold award-winning London Dry gin

It's complex, smooth and beautifully balanced. Ideal for this most classic of gin cocktails. And Good Housekeeping's Best Gin for 2024.

Our Navy Gin (York Gin Outlaw) is also an excellent gin for a gin and tonic. It's stronger (57%), but incredibly smooth.

Instructions to make the perfect Gin & Tonic

  • Make sure the glass is not warm - and put lots of ice in it
  • Pour in a double measure of gin 
  • Do not drown the gin with tonic! Start with 50:50 then add to taste until you get the perfect ratio for you
  • Add the lemon peel or other garnish. (You don't have to add a garnish!)
  • Stir
  • Drink and enjoy your perfect G&T
  • Ahhhh!
  • Watch our 30-second video if you're still stuck

Which type of gin do you recommend for the perfect G&T?

York Gin London Dry was specifically designed as the classic gin for a perfect gin and tonic. No botanical (from the nine) overpowers the others. It’s smooth, it’s rounded and it’s satisfying.

Buy York Gin London Dry

Superb alternatives are Sipsmith, Martin Millers, Four Pillars, Gin Mare and Makar, among others.

Does the type of glass matter?

As long as you’re using a hi-ball or Copa (balloon) glass, you’re fine. Don’t use a warm pint glass or a child’s plastic container! Remember, research has shown that drinkers associate heaviness of glass with quality of contents too!

We have more glass advice here

Why lots of ice - won’t it dilute the drink?

The more ice and the bigger the cubes, the slower they melt. So, no, they won't dilute your G&T.

Why so little tonic?

You want to taste the gin! Lots of people don’t think they like gin - then they realise it’s tonic they don’t like. A tonic like Fever-Tree Light isn’t too overpowering- neither too much sugar nor too much quinine. You can always add more if it’s too strong. You can’t take it out once you’ve drowned it!

Why not a slice of lime or lemon?

A slice of citrus is fine if you don’t have the highest quality gin - it can disguise the less smooth notes. But if you’re drinking excellent gin, the peel of the lemon or lime enhances the delicate citrus note already in the gin without making the whole drink taste of citrus. But double check the botanicals in the gin you’re drinking. Most classic London Dry gins have lemon as a main botanical. Some other gins have other flavours you may want to enhance - like pepper, orange or even vanilla.

What if I don't have any ice?

Keep your gin in the freezer and your tonic in the fridge!

More gin-fo and helpful articles

What is gin and what are the different types of gin

A short history of gin

Which glass should I use for my G&T

Which are the best garnishes for a G&T

How to choose the perfect gin for you

Gin gifts

1st Feb 2023 York Gin

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