It's been just over a year since my husband and I moved into our first house, and though a few sparse walls remain, we have figured out one thing this summer: our house drink. I keep bottles of rose in the fridge for the brutal summer months, but the go-to cocktail in our house has become this Gin & Tonic.
Simple and clean tasting, it's the perfect cocktail to stir up after work or any time a couple of friends stop by. My sister sent us cute glasses that say, "You're the gin to my tonic." A friend's mom has challenged me to a G&T-off.
For me, it wasn't love at first sip with the classic G&T. It never seemed very interesting, and there was something funny tasting about the tonic water. I preferred bourbon. But it has been Danny's cocktail of choice since college, so it kept cropping back up.
On a trip to Charleston, S.C., we stopped in a shop selling cookbooks and home goods. We lingered in the charming store, chatting with the woman running the home goods side who eventually pointed us toward a few chubby bottles on one of the shelves. Her boyfriend, she said, made a small-batch tonic called Jack Rudy. We took a bottle home, and it changed my perception of G&Ts forever.
The brand has since expanded and is now available beyond South Carolina. I was thrilled to spot it on a shelf at Locale Market in town. Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Tonic is a concentrated tonic syrup meant for mixing with gin and soda water. It makes for a well-balanced cocktail with just the right amount of that characteristic flavor from the quinine.
This Gin & Tonic has already cemented its spot as our drink of the summer, but I have a feeling the house drink won't change any time soon.
We're about to embark on a two-week trip to Spain, where I'm told they make the best G&Ts. The cocktail is a national obsession for the Spanish, who call them gin tonics. Bars from Barcelona to the Basque Country boast long gin lists and frequently serve the drink with lots of flair. Spanish G&Ts are often served in ballooning glasses with multiple garnishes that seem to be competing with a Bloody Mary. We can't wait.
Ileana Morales Valentine lives in St. Petersburg with her husband. For more of their kitchen stories, visit her blog, ALittleSaffron.com. Say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org.