The cocktail has the added benefit that the recipe is pretty much in its name if sans lime. Along with the rum-and-Coke and Jack-and-Coke, it’s the about simplest drink to concoct at home.
And gin-and-tonics have gotten better in recent years, part of the advent of the craft cocktail movement that began here a decade ago. The biggest reason has gotten much tastier is because of the availability of high-quality commercial tonic water, most notably the Fever Tree brand, which is found in most even somewhat serious bars serving cocktails these days. As Justin Vann, a proprietor of the excellent Public Services downtown mentioned to me after I complemented him on the tastiness of their gin-and-tonic that it’s mostly in the quality of the tonic water, as the drink is mostly tonic water, after all.
But, the best gin-and-tonics I’ve ever had have been at BCN, the upscale Spanish restaurant in Montrose. The offer about twenty different versions these days, half seasonal, using various gins and tonic waters, all of which I’ve had or sampled have been terrific, including a few recently. The Spanish have done wonders in advancing the range and palatability of the gin-and-tonic. This seems to have begun around fifteen years ago or so, possibly in reaction to the influx of British tourists to Spain. I don’t really know, but I certainly enjoy the result. Aromatics in the form of herbs and citrus play a big role in BCN’s creations like prominent sprigs of rosemary and strips or pieces of lemon or another citrus. On my last visit I had a summer offering made with blood oranges that had a red hue and drank quickly coming in from the hot sun, another with Fever Tree Elderflower tonic water, lavender grapes, lemon and thyme, and the Mediterranean featuring Gin Mare, Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic water, rosemary, olives, and sea salt. BCN pours only part of the small bottle of the tonic water into the glass to start and you can add more along the way. This actually makes the drink more enjoyable as you consume more of it, even as the percent of alcohol in each sip diminishes.
Though the gin-and-tonics taste very good no matter where you sit at BCN, if you can grab one of the nine seats at the bar, you can interact with an excellent bartender, which can add to the visit. They do an exceptional job.
If you need any further reason to consume also drink gin-and-tonics, think about your health. You surely don’t want to get malaria; the quinine in the tonic water has prophylactic properties against malaria, which is why the British created the cocktail in the first place. And the cheap gin tasted much better mixed with the tonic water and chilled in the very tropical climate of southern India. We can believe that the cocktail tastes far better today with much better gin and, more so, much better tonic water. Add to that inspired creations like you find at BCN, it’s a reason for celebration.
4210 Roseland (near the intersection of Montrose and Richmond), 77006, (832) 834-3411