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Here are the keys to the very best gin and tonic, a classic 2-ingredient cocktail! A few secrets take this botanical drink over the top.

Gin and tonic
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What’s more refreshing than a gin and tonic? Its crisp, botanical flavor is straightforward but at the same time intriguing: a feat using only 2 ingredients! It’s no wonder that this is one of the world’s popular cocktails. We’ve researched to gather a few tips about making the perfect gin and tonic. Keep reading for our secrets.

Love gin drinks? Try all our Best Gin Cocktails.

What’s in a gin and tonic?

Called a “G and T” or gin tonic in some countries, this refreshing drink is made in countries all around the world. The Gin and Tonic was invented in the 1850’s by British soldiers, who mixed gin with their tonic water as a way to drink quinine (which was thought to cure malaria). Tonic water of today no longer has quinine, but the drink stuck around! Naturally, it’s made of two things:

  • 1 part gin
  • 2 parts tonic water

The gin and tonic is very popular in Spain, called a Gin-Tonic (pronounced “Zcheen tonic”). I studied abroad in Madrid years ago so to me, this drink has a nostalgia that reminds me of sipping in Spain. Speaking of Spain, we’re taking cues from this country to bring you tips on how to make the best gin and tonic.

Gin and tonic

Tip 1: Use a stemmed glass, not a highball.

Using a stemmed glass to serve a gin and tonic comes from the Spanish tradition (you can use any balloon glass or coupe). Traditionally this drink is served in a highball glass. But serving it in a stemmed glass does two things:

  • It keeps the gin and tonic ice cold. Your hand doesn’t touch the drink and melt the ice, making the drink stay ultra cold.
  • It gives you a bigger whiff of the aromas of the drink. A wider opening helps you to appreciate both the gin and the aromas of your garnishes! Speaking of…

Here’s the glasses we used for these photographs! Get them: Gin and Tonic Cups

Gin and tonic garnish

Tip 2: Add fun garnishes that accentuate the gin!

Another cue we took from the Spanish gin and tonic tradition: use lots of garnishes that accentuate the gin flavor! According to this source, the use of vegetables and herbs to highlight the botanicals is popular. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Lime or lemon wedge
  • Cucumber slice
  • Mint leaves
  • Orange peel
  • Juniper berries (see notes below)
  • Blood orange slices
  • Rosemary

Tip 3: Pour the tonic water over a spoon.

One last tip to making the best gin and tonic! When you’re adding the tonic water, pour it over a spoon into the drink. This is known to make it more bubbly. Now, we don’t have any scientific proof of this! But why not.

Here’s a video of a Spanish bartender demonstrating these gin and tonic tips (sound on only if you speak Spanish!).

Gin and tonic

Juniper berries bring a unique flair!

If you’re a big “gin and tonic” fan, a fun way to step up your game is garnishing with juniper berries. Why? Gin is made with juniper berries, and that’s the predominant flavor in this liquor. So if you’re a cocktail nerd, grab some juniper berries for your G and T’s. They’re hard to find at most grocery stores, so they’re easiest to find online. Get some: Juniper berries!

Variations on the gin and tonic

As with any classic cocktail, there are lots of variations on the G and T. You can muddle any sort of herbs or fruit and add to your G&T, or mix it up with other juices or spirits. Here are some ideas:

Best gin and tonic

When to serve a gin and tonic

The Gin and Tonic is a classic and carefree gin cocktail. It’s perfect for sipping as a:

  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Summer drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Gin and tonic

Best Gin and Tonic

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x


Here are the keys to the very best gin and tonic, a classic 2-ingredient cocktail! A few secrets take this botanical drink over the top.


  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) gin
  • 4 ounces (8 tablespoons) tonic water
  • Garnish ideas: Lime, lemon, cucumber, mint, orange peel, juniper berries, blood orange slice, rosemary


  1. Add lots of ice to a large cocktail or wine glass and stir to chill the glass. Drain any melted water.
  2. Pour in the gin. Add the garnishes. Pour the tonic water onto a bar spoon into the glass (to increase the bubbles). Stir once and serve.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktail

More classic cocktails

This mojito is a knock-out classic! Here are a few more of our best classic cocktails you might also enjoy:

  • Classic Mojito Here’s a classic mojito recipe, perfectly balanced with lime, rum and fresh mint! This iconic Cuban cocktail is refreshing and just sweet enough.
  • Southside Cocktail An easy and refreshing gin drink made with mint, lemon and lime: think of it like a gin mojito. Or try the Southside Fizz, the bubbly version.
  • Paloma Cousin of the classic margarita, this easy Mexican cocktail recipe features tequila with grapefruit instead of lime! 
  • Tom Collins This popular gin cocktail that’s light and bubbly! Here’s how to make this refreshing drink: and don’t forget the cherry.
  • Lemon Drop Martini A zingy classic cocktail, it’s perfectly balanced and refreshingly tart, served with a sugar rim and a lemon twist.
  • French Connection Cocktail A two-ingredient drink with big flavor.
  • Pisco Sour The magic meld of pisco and lime gives it a flavor that’s like none other.

Last updated: January 2021

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hello! What did the bartender spray on the rim of the glass in the youtube video? Thanks!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Can you use any gin for the gin and tonic cocktail?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Yes! Any will work and they’ll each change the flavor a little bit.