How to make the hands down best gin and tonic

To say my husband and I have been drinking a lot of gin and tonics lately is a bit of an understatement. Ever since I started growing my gin collection, our first drink to try with a new bottle is a G&T. It provides a nice baseline for us and helps me evaluate the gin. So, after many empty glasses I can say that I’ve figured out the secret(s) to making what I believe is the best gin and tonic.

gin and tonic recipe

First, let’s start with the gin. While a London dry gin such as Tanqueray makes a good gin and tonic, I think it’s best to go with a unique gin in this particular drink. I prefer gins that are batch-distilled because they have more character. Some of my favorite gins for making the best gin and tonic right now are Tanqueray Ten, Martin Miller’s and St. George Botanivore. Each one is different from the other so it depends on my mood on which one I’m going to use that day. I suggest you taste test as many different premium gins as you can to figure out which one will be your shining star in the G&T.

best gin and tonic

Next, let’s talk about the tonic water. For awhile I was using Q Tonic water in my drinks and I thought it was alright. That is, until my mom and I made homemade tonic water. The homemade stuff is so much better than any store bought stuff. And yes, I did a blind tonic water tasting with me, my mom and my husband and we all agreed on that statement. We tested Q, Fever Tree, Fentiman’s, Schweppes and the homemade tonic water. The homemade stuff was voted the winner by all of us.

gin and tonic cocktail

I’ve been making Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s tonic water recipe. It’s easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of strange ingredients. We did cut the agave nectar down to 1/2 cup for each one cup of hot mix so that it wasn’t as sweet. With this recipe you can also add different herbs, spices and adjust the citrus to complement your particular brand of gin. It will take a few tries but the results will be well worth it.

My advice here is that if you are really wanting the best gin and tonic you need to make your own tonic water. It really does make a difference. With your homemade tonic, you’ll also need carbonated water to top it with. I typically use a sparkling mineral water but this post will explain the differences between fizzy waters.

The last two ingredients aren’t mandatory but I like to add them are a squeeze of fresh lime and a couple dashes of Angostura bitters. The fresh lime adds some brightness while the bitters help create depth.

best gin and tonic recipe

I realize that this is a lot of information for making such a simple drink. But I do believe that if you are going to make the best gin and tonic, you need to use the best ingredients. So go forth, my friends, and use the recipe below to experiment with those gins and homemade tonic water to create your very perfect gin and tonic.

Gin and Tonic
Serves: 1
  • 2 ounces of your favorite gin
  • 1 ounce homemade tonic syrup
  • Carbonated water (preferably sparkling mineral water)
  • Optional: Squeeze of lime and a couple dashes of Angostura bitters
  1. Add gin and tonic syrup to a rocks glass. If using lime juice and bitters add those as well.
  2. Stir, fill the glass with ice and top with carbonated water.




I’m joining Mixology Monday with this post for this month’s theme of Highballs. It’s being hosted at Southern Ash this month and I thought it was the perfect theme to share my thoughts on the classic G&T.

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Jessica Torres is the chief cocktail creator here at One Martini. Outside of the internet, she works at DEATH & TAXES (a bar) and midtown eats (a restaurant) in Reno, Nevada. When not working, Jessica can be found working out, spending time with her family or attempting to nap. Subscribe to our newsletter to get all of the latest cocktail creations delivered directly to your inbox.
Filed under: Classic Cocktail Recipes, Cocktail Recipes
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