Science behind the perfect Gin and Tonic

Possibly the most refreshing, yet also the simplest cocktail that you can ever have: the gin and tonic.

Did you know that there’s a science between the best cocktails? Our favourite G&T is no different. In this article, we are going to be talking about why the gin and tonic mix perfectly together, and how you can start making this amazing cocktail inside the comforts of your home. 

Scientific history of the Gin & Tonic

First, let’s start with the actual scientific history behind the G&T.

You probably already know that alcoholic drinks like this were used by people from some hundred years ago as medicine or cure for different diseases. The gin & tonic specifically was used to treat Malaria. French scientists were able to figure out the best process to extract Quinine and make a powdered version of the Quinine bark. The problem is, even if it is powdered, it was still extremely bitter. 

To lessen the bitterness of the tonic water, Englishmen added sugar to it, and later on, turned it into a carbonated drink as well (by Jacob Schweppe). Englishmen then realized that adding gin and citrus into the mix makes the Tonic water more bearable.

(Although Tonic water contains less quinine today and is less bitter, so, if you get Malaria please don’t attempt to use the G&T as a cure).

Carbonated water was also used as a prevention against Scurvy back then. They had knowledge that Carbon Dioxide can be used to prevent food from rotting and Jacob Schweppe intuited into using their products to prevent or cure Scurvy. 

While we won’t be using these methods today anymore, it’s fun to know that there’s a rich scientific history behind the G&T. These learnings paved the way for modern medicine!

The Chemisty behind a good refreshing Gin & Tonic

Unfortunately, scientists can’t explain the reason why our favourite cocktail is, well, the favourite cocktail of many. 

But there are some speculations.

According to Thrillist, the G&T is actually much better together than apart as it contains a chemical makeup that wires your nose, mouth, and brain to light up the moment you drink the cocktail. It’s not magic or a figment of our imagination! The chemicals behind the G&T is what’s making it so good, which is quite a fascination.

Like mentioned, food scientists don’t exactly know why this happens yet, but it does happen.

If you want to read a further detailed explanation about this, check out this article from Thrillist.

Put some science into your Gin & Tonic

Moving on, let’s start enhancing the already perfect gin and tonic with some bartending science tips.

Tip #1 Use a Copa or Balloon Glass

According to Flaviar, using a Copa glass or aka Balloon glass for your G&Ts can make it a bit more special. The balloon glass is described to have a long stem that prevents your hand from warming your drink and melting the ice. A large, round shape that allows it to hold plenty of ice even with a big garnish. It narrows towards the top which causes the aromas of the Gin and garnishes to stay within the walls of the glass and helps you get the full hit of the juniper notes once you finally take a sip.

Tip #2 Don’t pour your tonic water too fast

Michael Stringer, a drinks expert from the UK, told Good Housekeeping that pouring your tonic water too fast releases CO2 and makes your gin less fizzy. Hence, it will be flat. 

He recommends that you pour your tonic water like how you would pour your beer. Make sure that it hits the side of the glass instead of the base by tilting the bottle first and then slowly bringing it upright. According to Stringer, this would help in reducing the amount of CO2 released from your tonic water. He also suggests that you shouldn’t stir your G&T too much or too fast as it would cause the same problem.

Mix it as gently as you can!

Tip #3 Use cold gin and tonic

Carbon dioxide leaves warmer liquids faster, according to John DeBary’s book “Drink What You Want.”

If you want to keep the fizz in your drink and make your G&T more enjoyable, you’re going to want to use the coldest gin and tonic possible that you can get. (Well, not ice cold. You get the point. Maybe a slight brain-freeze cold, though?)

This also helps in preventing the ice from melting and watering down your G&T that could result in having a flatter tasting drink. None of us want that, do we?

Tip #4 Fill up your glass with a lot of ice 

We think that by now, it’s safe to say that keeping your G&T as cold as possible is the best way to enjoy it. The lower the temperature, the better. 

So, don’t be shy when putting ice on your perfect balloon glass! The best way to add ice onto your G&T is by filling the whole thing up with ice. Like with a cold gin and tonic, this also prevents all of your ice from melting and watering down your favourite cocktail. The lesser the ice, the faster they melt. 

Unless, maybe, you can gulp down G&Ts incredibly fast?

Tip #5 One part gin, two parts water

This is what is going to make or break your drink: the amount of gin and tonic you pour into it.

Arguably, this is subjective. You can pour in as much gin and tonic as you want into your glass. If you can handle more gin, then great! If you like the fizz of the carbonated water more, then that’s fine, too.

But many experts do it this way: for a part of gin that you pour, you pour in two parts water. 

We hope that after this you can finally make the perfect G&T at home. Enjoy!

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