Scientists reveal the perfect gin and tonic formula with the best topping, ice and glass

Do you consider yourself a master in the art of making gin and tonic? The truth is, you may be focusing on the wrong things.

According to a food scientist, perfecting the nation’s favorite cocktail doesn’t just mean getting the right proportion of ingredients, but also the shape of the glass, the temperature, and what you ate for lunch.

Natalie Alibrandi, a UK food consultant, found that a crescent-shaped ice cube is essential to make sure it melts as slowly as possible so it doesn’t dilute the drink.

A colder drink reduces the sharp aftertaste of the alcoholhe says, and a cheese platter best completes the flavor of a classic London Dry Gin.

A colder drink reduces the sharp aftertaste of alcohol in a gin and tonic cocktail

Natalie Alibrandi (pictured), a food industry consultant, found that the type of glass, the ice, the topping and even when the drink is served can make a big difference to the taste of a gin and tonic.

Natalie Alibrandi (pictured), a food industry consultant, found that the type of glass, the ice, the topping and even when the drink is served can make a big difference to the taste of a gin and tonic.

The optimal shape of the ice in a gin and tonic is crescent-shaped, which holds its shape longer than a cube and melts more slowly so as not to dilute the cocktail as you drink it.

The optimal shape of the ice in a gin and tonic is crescent-shaped, which holds its shape longer than a cube and melts more slowly so as not to dilute the cocktail as you drink it.

THE RECIPE IN 10 STEPS FOR A PERFECT G&T

  1. Chill your gin
  2. Cool a glass of Copa de Balon
  3. Cold tonic water
  4. Make fresh crescent-shaped ice cubes
  5. Use small units of tonic water with increased carbonation from a single-serving can or glass bottle
  6. Fill the cold glass to the top with fresh ice cubes
  7. Pour 50ml of cold London Dry Gin into the glass
  8. Pour 150ml of cold tonic water into the glass
  9. Garnish with a piece of lemongrass, dried mango and pine sprig
  10. Mix gently and enjoy within 30 minutes
A chilled gin and tonic cocktail numbs the taste buds and creates a softer tasting alcohol rather than having a sharp bite to the aftertaste

A chilled gin and tonic cocktail numbs the taste buds and creates a softer tasting alcohol rather than having a sharp bite to the aftertaste

The ideal vessel for the drink is the Copa de Balon, or balloon gin glass, which has a bulbous shape and a thin stem, says Alibrandi in a study commissioned by liquor company Quintessential Brands.

Its large volume is capable of holding a lot of ice, while the stem is designed to keep warm hands away from the cup, ensuring that the ice does not melt.

The balloon shape allows botanical aromas and vapors to be contained within the glass, for a more aromatic drinking experience for the palate and nose.

When it comes to tonic water, you can’t skimp on quality, according to Alibrandi.

She said: ‘A 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 less CO₂ retention and over time will lose the desired bubbles and mouthfeel.

“By opting for tonic water with a carbonation level of 4.5 it will have sustained stability, allowing you to enjoy your G&T for longer.”

Large plastic bottles do not retain liquid carbonation as do glass cans or bottles and tend to have higher air permeability.

Recyclable single-serve glass cans or bottles will produce the optimal beverage, as the more times the container is opened, the more bubbles are lost.

The tonic should be poured slowly and never mixed more than twice, otherwise you run the risk of your drink losing its fizz too quickly.

The perfect drink also depends on ice, which should come from fresh water and recently frozen to give the best taste.

It is also important that the ice melts slowly and does not dilute the cocktail, so the more ice cubes, the better.

The tonic must be slowly poured into the gin and the cocktail must never be mixed more than twice otherwise there is a risk that the drink will lose its effervescence too quickly.

The tonic must be slowly poured into the gin and the cocktail must never be mixed more than twice otherwise there is a risk that the drink will lose its effervescence too quickly.

IDEAL G&T MEASURES

Cup capacity = 500 – 800 ml

Glass stem length = 9.5 – 12.5 cm

Glass edge diameter = 75 – 95 mm

Ice = 0.5 x 1.13 x 1.5 inches (crescent shaped)

Carbonate tonic ion = 4.5 CO₂

Tonic / gin ratio = 3: 1

Gin temperature = -18ºC

Glass temperature = -4ºC

Tonic water temperature = 5ºC

Number of shuffles = up to two

The shape of the ice is also essential: the larger its surface, the faster it melts, as the more it is exposed to the hotter liquid.

Although the most common ice shape is a cube or cube that is easily made into ice trays, this has a large surface-to-volume ratio and melts faster.

The optimal shape of the ice is crescent, which is much firmer, so it holds its shape longer and melts more slowly.

It is also thinner than ice cubes, allowing for more rectangular ice in the glass.

The temperature of the liquid is also significant and to prevent the ice from melting too quickly it should be kept as cool as possible.

Gin should ideally be stored in the freezer with the cold glass and freshly frozen ice

A cold drink numbs the taste buds and creates a softer tasting alcohol rather than having a sharp bite in the aftertaste.

Gin contains terpenoid compounds which are responsible for its complex flavor profile.

Terpenes are the aroma molecules found in plants and are what add to the unique aroma and aroma profiles of several ingredients, including gin.

Alibrandi found that the more common terpenes found in London Dry Gin were best complemented by the unusual combination of mango and pine toppings, before the traditional lime wedge.

He said: ‘The optimal drinking climate is at a temperature of 21ºC and above, not too hot to melt the drink, but hot enough for the G&T to cool and cool.

‘To make sure a gin and tonic is enjoyed with all the variables in mind, it should be consumed within 30 minutes.

“The carbonation level will have dropped by almost half after 30 minutes, while the ice will probably melt within 15-20 minutes.”

THE BEST FOODS TO HAVE WITH A G&T

Floral or Fruity Gin – Citrus Dessert

ex. Chamomile and apples cooked with lemon

Spiced Gin – Savory dish

eg. Salmon or herbal pasta dish

Gin London Dry – Cheese board

ex. Smoked Gouda

He adds that it’s also important not to drink your cocktail through a straw, as sipping from the glass provides more aroma and enhances the experience.

While many of us like to enjoy a G&T as a first drink to kick off an evening, Alibrandi says you shouldn’t skip lunch early to enjoy it to the fullest.

He said: ‘A neutral palette is best for enjoying the complex flavors of a G&T and should always be drunk responsibly for optimal enjoyment.

“You shouldn’t drink on an empty stomach because of how fast it passes through the stomach and into the small intestine and be careful not to drink it too fast.”

The perfect food to enjoy with your drink depends on the flavor profile of your favorite gin.

A floral or fruity gin goes well with citrus flavors as they enhance the refreshing notes and terpenes present in the gin.

Spiced gin commonly contains the Myrcene terpene, which goes well with savory dishes as it enhances its herbaceous and citrus notes.

For a classic London dry gin, a strong, smoky cheese platter offers the ultimate combination.

The contrasting flavors of the cheese and gin work as a great match, and the bitter of the tonic serves as a refreshing palette cleanser for maximum enjoyment.

Joanne Moore, Gin Master Distiller at Quintessential Brands, says: “A G&T is the number one alcoholic drink in the UK for a reason, but the way it’s served can really take it from pretty good to great.

“We have been producing gins since 1761 and we want consumers to get the most out of our award-winning gins.

“It was really interesting to see how this formula improves the taste of our gins BLOOM, OPIHR and Greenall’s to help any drinker, budding enthusiast or gin fanatic, enjoy the best possible G&T quality in the comfort of their own home.”

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