Sometimes the best new drinks are the ones that don’t vary too far from the tried and true combinations of flavors. Finding new ways to slightly change up a drink you know and love is great, both for the added variety now available to you and the demonstration that tweaking old classics is possible even for drinks that you might not have thought about changing. The Gin & Tonic is one of my favorites, especially in the summer time. The only problem I have is that most tonic water you have available to you at bars is sickeningly sweet and that sweetness tends to be fairly one dimensional.
Fortunately nowadays there are a number of craft-style tonic bottlings, including Fever Tree, Q, and Fentimans. While I’m not a big fan of Q, I usually keep both Fever Tree and Fentimans on hand at home. Fentimans has great lemongrass and ginger subtones to it, making it a far more substantial tonic water in my book. Fever Tree is lighter and has stronger floral and citrus flavors to go with a more traditional quinine taste.
I’ve been working on a Gin & Tonic variation that highlights the orange and floral flavors of Fever Tree. I figured that if I was going to make a change to such a classic highball, I would want to work within the flavor profile of both the tonic water and the gin I was using. To that end, I went with Broker’s London Dry Gin, which has a strong citrus taste owing to its use of both lemon and orange peel in its botanical mix. Adding in a good amount of Orange Flower Water and a small amount of St. Germain and I think I have a cocktail in the spirit of a Gin and Tonic, with a great floral and orange twist.
Orange Flower Livener
2 oz Gin (Broker’s London Dry Gin
.25 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
4 dashes Orange Flower Water (The Bitter Truth)
top with tonic water (Fever Tree)
In an ice-filled highball glass, combine all ingredients. Give the drink a quick swizzle and garnish with a large orange peel.