DRAFT Gin & Tonic, Elderflower & Grapefruit

The Cocktail

The Gin and Tonic is an old English classic: just gin and tonic often with lemon slice. This variant replaces the lemon with grapefruit and gives the cocktail a twist by adding a splash of elderflower syrup.

BodyHeavy bodied: notable alcohol, bitter, sharp acidity and moderate sweetness.
InfusionsFruits: juniper, wild berries, citrus
Herbs: (mild) coriander, angelica root, cassia bark, thyme
Floral: (mild) chamomile, elderflower, and meadowsweet
Spice: (mild) cinnamon, nutmeg
Mixer FlavorsAcidic and bitter grapefruit
Sweet and floral elderflower
Temperature Serve with ice

Beyond the juniper, gin botanicals are notoriously hard to isolate on the palate. The overall effect of well-made gin is a sense of a rich, organic, earthy or herbal flavor, coupled with cleanliness and clarity. Lower quality gins come across as thin or shallow in flavor, and sometimes metallic.

More About the Cocktail

  • 50ml / 1½ oz of Gin (Botanist Islay Dry Gin)
  • 25ml / ¾ oz freshly squeezed Grapefruit Juice
  • 15ml / ½ oz Elderflower Cordial
  • Tonic
  • Garnish with a sprig of Thyme.
  • Mix The Botanist, grapefruit and elderflower cordial in a mixing glass
  • Pour into an ice-filled highball
  • Top up with tonic water
  • Garnish with a sprig of thyme and a grapefruit wheel

What glass should you use? Usually a straight slim-jim, but a tumbler looks better for people with bigger hands.

The History of Gin & Tonic

Tonic is bitter because of quinine. Quinine (initially derived from the bark of the cinchona tree in South America) is a natural anti-malarial, prescribed to officers and settlers in the British empire. They mixed it with sugar and water to make it less unpalatable, hence “tonic” water.

Gin is older, rooted in medieval Europe. The Dutch imported a drink to the UK called jenever (which the Brits shortened to “jin” or gin), alcohol flavored with juniper (Dutch: jeneverbes). It was part drink, part preserved botanical, part herbal medicine. The English took it to heart (and liver) and gin was born. Today it is essentially a vodka flavored with predominantly juniper. Every gin maker has their own blend, choosing other botanicals to give their USP.

Combining gin and tonic, the British made a sin from a virtue, or a virtue from a sin, depending on your point of view, as they juiced up their medicine with 40% alcohol. A little extra citrus made it even more delicious.

The G&T is now a global staple in every bar in the world.

What does it taste like?

The Gin

The Botanist Gin as an example uses of 22 botanicals from the Island of Islay.

  • Juniper – the defining botanical
  • Citrus: usually hints of lemon
  • Herbs: Botanist has hints of coriander, angelica root, and cassia bark, contributing earthy, spicy, and slightly sweet undertones. Thyme and mint-like qualities give the gin a herbaceous and fresh character.
  • Floral: floral notes like chamomile, elderflower, and meadowsweet are present, adding a fragrant and slightly sweet dimension.
  • Spice: Subtle hints of spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, provide depth and warmth to the overall flavor profile.
  • Wild Berries: some gins may have a hint of wild berries, adding a touch of sweetness and fruity complexity.
  • Oceanic: Botanist claims to have oceanic and salty notes. Go looking for them.
  • Floral finish: a lingering floral and herbal elegance leaves a clean and crisp aftertaste.

Most artisan gins affect to a list similar to this, often sourcing their ingredients locally. However as the average drinker does not drink neat gin, mixing with tonics or in cocktails, most of these very subtle notes are very hard if not impossible to distinguish.

Well made juniper-led gin tends to leave an overall impression, or hum, of a rich complex herbaceousness, light fruit notes and muted spice.

The Tonic

Tonic is sweet carbonated water with added quinine. Today there is recognition that a mixer needs to have a level of quality as good as the gin as poor tonic will overwhelm good gin. We now often see tonics infused with their own botanicals and variations in sweetness, quinine and bubbliness.

Personally, I like very good plain tonic, and look for my complex flavors from the gin.

Either way, don’t take tonic for granted if you’ve shelled out big $s for your gin.

More to explorer


Introduction to Valençay Cheese Valençay cheese, a distinctive French goat cheese, hails from the province of Berry, now part of the Centre-Val

Soft Young Pecorino

History of Soft Young Pecorino Origins and Development Pecorino is a term used to describe Italian cheeses made from sheep’s milk (the

Loire Menetou Salon Sauvignon Blanc

History of Menetou-Salon Sauvignon Blanc Wine Menetou-Salon is a lesser-known but highly respected appellation located in the Centre-Val de Loire region of