Research has revealed the exact formula for enjoying the perfect G&T ahead of tomorrow’s World Gin Day (Saturday June 11). The study shows that it’s all about the glass, the shape of the ice and never stirring more than twice to get the most out of the traditional UK drink.
Spirits company Quintessential Brands and food and beverage scientist Natalie Alibrandi have also found the ultimate wine pairings to pair with some of their popular gin brands Greenall’s, BLOOM and OPIHR’S London Dry Gin to get the most out of of this classic drink.
The essential glass : The ideal type is a Copa de Balon, bulbous in shape and sitting on a stem similar to a red wine glass, the design allows it to hold plenty of all-important ice while the tall stem prevents hot hands from melting the ice. The balloon shape allows the botanical aromas and vapors to be contained within the glass, for a more aromatic drinking experience.
The tonic: Tonic water with higher carbonation is best, so check the label. A carbonation level of 4.5 CO₂ is ideal, as lower carbonation will have lower CO₂ retention and lose the desired bubbles and mouthfeel over time. Cans and glass bottles maintain better carbonation for tonics and other mixers than plastic bottles, which tend to have greater air permeability. Mini-cans or single-use recyclable glass bottles are best, and the tonic should be poured slowly – never stir more than twice to prevent the drink from losing its fizz faster.
Ice: It should be fresh and recently frozen for the best G&T taste – and the more ice cubes the better, allowing for slower melting with less risk of dilution. The less surface area of ice exposed to the hotter G&T liquid, the slower it melts: The most common form of ice is the rectangular cube made in ice trays, but it has a large surface area and melts quickly. The optimal shape of ice cream is the crescent, which is much stronger and therefore retains its shape longer and melts more slowly.
Temperature: Gin should ideally be stored in the freezer, with the glass chilled and the ice freshly frozen. By ensuring that these three parts are very cold, the overall gin and tonic will warm up at a lower rate. A cold drink numbs the taste buds and creates a milder tasting alcohol rather than having a strong bite to the aftertaste.
Garnish: Gin contains terpenoid compounds which are responsible for its complex flavor profile – terpenes are the odor molecules found in plants and are what add to the unique aroma and flavor profiles of the different ingredients. Surprisingly, the results revealed that the most common terpenes found in London Dry Gin were best complemented by the unusual combination of mango and pine filling.
Natalie Alibrandi said: “The optimum drinking time is at a temperature of 21°C and above – not too hot to melt your drink, but hot enough for the G&T to cool and refresh. To ensure that a gin and tonic is enjoyed while paying attention to all variables, it should be consumed within 30 minutes.
“The level of carbonation will have reduced by almost half after 30 minutes, while the ice will probably melt within 15 to 20 minutes.”
The perfect gin pairing may depend on the spirit’s different flavor profile. For a floral or fruity gin like BLOOM Gin, pair it with a citrus dessert like chamomile and lemon baked apples. For a spiced gin such as OPHIR European Edition Spiced Gin, pair it with foods such as salmon or a herb-based pasta dish, to enhance the herbal and citrus notes of G&T.
For a classic London dry gin, such as Greenall’s Original London Dry Gin, a strong and smoky cheese board provides the ultimate combination. Joanne Moore, Master Gin Distiller at Quintessential Brands, said: “A G&T is the UK’s No.1 alcoholic drink for a reason, but the way it’s served can really take it from quite enjoyable to exceptional. .
“We’ve been making gin since 1761 and we want consumers to get the most out of our award-winning gins.”
Top tips for a perfect G&T:
- Cold gin (-18C)
- Chill a Copa de Balon glass (-4C)
- Cold tonic water (5C)
- Make fresh ice cream – crescent ice cubes are best
- Use small units of tonic water with higher carbonation (4.5 CO₂), ideally from a can or glass bottle
- Create the perfect garnish using a piece of lemongrass, dried mango and sprig of pine
- Fill the chilled glass to the brim with fresh ice cubes
- Pour 50ml of chilled London Dry Gin into the glass
- Pour 150 ml of chilled tonic water into the glass
- Add the mango and a pine branch
- Stir gently
- Enjoy (within 30 minutes or your efforts will be in vain)
- Finally, don’t use a straw, as sipping from the glass provides more aroma and enhances the experience.
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