Freitag, 8. April 2016

The Times of London: Never mind the rosé, the drink for summer is a designer G&T

As the first tender raise of summöer sunshine coax our weary winter souls from rest, thoughts naturally turn to the new season's liquor. Such are the cycles of time aand tide that the Provençal rosé and Campari spritzers that saw you through recent summers are no longer applicable. If you want to be an on-point host this summer - if you want your vicarage barbecue to be the envy of the village - it is imperative that you up your gin game.

The G&T - the mitigating factor in the British colonial project - is the directional serve of SS16. Not just any G&T, however. No, ma'am. It won't do to pair a centimetre of supermarket own-brand with flat slimline tonic. And you must certainly not ask, “Ice and lemon?“ Of course she wants ice! Tons of it. A squeeze of lime is always preferable to lemon. And while you're being pedantic, a double measure of gin with two to three times the amount of tonoc. Thanks.

Yet really the thing is to ask which G and which T?

Sipsmith and Elderflower Fever-Tree? Monkey 47 and Bermondsey? Cardamon Sacred and Square Root Artemisia? If the essence of the G&T is its simplicity - it's the antidote to all those fiddly cocktails - it doesn't mean it lacks complexity.

Blame the Spanish. The gin-tonic has become a cult order Biscayside in recent years, gin always slipping down nicely in times of economic turmoil. In the best bars you will find considered combinations that play the botanicals in the gin against the bitterness of the tonic, with fresh juniper berries, rosemary, thyme, mint, tarragon, grapefruit or lavender as appropriate. They serve them in great big wine glasses, the better to appreciate the aromas as well as the tiny bubbles popping on your nose.

Gin-wise, we Britishers now have plenty to choose from thanks to our most welcome microdistillery boom. The most delicious I have tasted in a while is Hepple, created in Cumbria by London bar-rake Nick Strangeway and the TV chef Valentine Warner. They call it a “high definition“ gin; it recently won a gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Tonic-wise, Fever-Tree has led the way in recent years, while Fentimans is also worth a nose. A new and intriguing player is Pedrino. It is claimed to be the first “alcoholic tonic“ because it is laced with raisiny Pedro Ximènez sherry. It's tasty on its own but even better with a glug of Tanqueray No Ten and a wedge of grapefruit.

Or go rogue: Square Root, based in Hackney, makes beautiful tonic waters with real quinine, as well as seasonal sodas, including bergamot, cedar and rhubarb. They're just begging to be married with gin. As are you, I'm guessing?

Richard Godwin's book The Spirits: A Guide to Moden Cocktailing is out now (Square Peg, £16.99)

Fazit: Gin und Tonic - diese Hochzeitsfeier besucht der Trinker gern.