Crisp and sharp, you’re a classic of the genre. The kind of G&T Sinatra would have had waiting for him when he got off stage. Heck, you and the Queen are on a first name basis (we’re pretty sure). Perhaps you’re not as glamorous as some of those nouveau gins, but who cares – you’re an old friend, reliable and comforting, there for the good times and the bad. But just because you’re as familiar as a lover, doesn’t mean you can’t spice things up when required. Time to meet your garnishes.
A splash of colour, a bolt of tartness. Citrus is a friend of all gins, but when you’re dry as a cracker, you should be in the market for a sharp offsider. Someone whose carefully cultivated bitterness plays off your own easy-going nature. Not that there’s anything simple about a lime. Part citron, part pomelo, part mandarin, your average lime is a mad science experiment gone right – an unpredictable Hyde to your well-loved Jekyll. Just don’t forget who’s in charge.
Don’t be fooled by its earthy reputation: a stick of rhubarb jutting from a tall glass is the calling card of a true gin aesthete. Offering a cocksure, sour-tongued counterpoint to your relaxed charms, you go together like Bonnie and Clyde, only without all the high-grade felonies. But a word of warning: don’t eat the leaves when you’re done. Filled with poisonous oxalic acid, they could, in sufficient quantities*, kill you.
*This sufficient quantity is thought to be around 5 kg, so in reality the required gin would almost definitely kill you first.
There’s a reason they put olives in martinis. Bitter, dirty and covered in brine, they cut across your average gin with reckless abandon, not so much crashing the party as bringing in a high-end soundsystem and a hundred close friends. But this isn’t some unwelcome stranger we’re talking about. Olives have been there since the very beginning – almost literally. We’ve been growing them since before writing was a thing. So, ask yourself: doesn’t your gin deserve it’s own slice of history?
We get it. Pickled onions were pretty much out of fashion in the Eisenhower Administration. But when it comes to G&Ts, these fragrant, half-sweet flavour grenades are the unfairly neglected wallflowers at the big garnish dance. Full of pith and juice and fizz, pickled onions know how to make a point. And that point is: look beyond the bracers and frizzy hair and you might just find the one you never knew you were searching for.
Baby Pickled Cucumbers
Who doesn’t love a cornichon? As fun to eat as it is to say, cornichons know how to make their own way in the world. They don’t need accompaniment, but they’ll make an exception for you. Sweet and sour, brash and beguiling, cornichons are the thinking man’s olive, lending your G&T a certain, well-considered je nais se quoi. So, brave the looks of confusion, throw two in the glass and wait for the accolades to roll in. It’s how they drink it in Paris, don’t you know?
All hail the king of garnishes. When you’re an ideal adornment for Indian curries, Vietnamese pho, Thai salad, Mexican salsa and straight-up gin and tonic, you know you’re doing something right. Fresh and springy, with the gentlest hint of citrus, coriander is the kind of herb that would probably taste good on cereal, and definitely hits the spot in a dry G&T. Unless you’re one of those people with the genetic condition that means coriander tastes like soap. In which case, you have our sincerest sympathies. More coriander for us!