Gin and tonics may seem like a very English cocktail, but the Spanish twist on this old classic makes for a perfectly refreshing patio sipper on a hot summer’s day. On my second trip to Barcelona, after passing endless sangria patios and narrow wine and tapas halls, I stumbled upon a bar in the Gracia neighbourhood called the Old Fashioned Gin Tonic & Cocktail Bar. Any previous conception I had about a basic gin and tonic from the bars of Alberta (with bottom shelf gin and tonic from a hose) were forever changed.
To distinguish the Spanish version, they dropped the “and,” so the name is simply “Gin Tonic.” The other major difference is the addition of aromatics — these can be whatever you have on hand, such as citrus peels, fresh green herbs, juniper berries, peppercorns, or fruit.
Spanish Gin Tonics are also served in a balloon glass with a wide mouth to allow the aromatics to breathe and really come to life on the nose. And given the warm temperatures in Spain, there is typically more ice in a Spanish Gin Tonic, making your choice of tonic water extra important. The addition of extra ice means this is a drink you can really linger with for a while on a sunny afternoon.
Our current feature gin, Boodles Gin, comes from a distillery founded in London in 1845 (and named after a prominent gentleman’s club), and became one of the first gins to really shape the flavours of the London gin industry. It serves as a great base for a Spanish Gin Tonic due to its dryness and mild botanicals, allowing your choice of tonic and aromatics to be the cocktail’s strongest feature.
City Cellars Summer-inspired Spanish Gin Tonic recipe
2 oz Boodles Gin
5 oz high quality tonic water (I used Elderflower tonic water from Alberta distillery Eau Claire).
Choose whatever you have on hand or flavours you enjoy! I bolded what we used for my version.
Citrus peel or slices
Fresh green herbs like mint, rosemary or basil (I used fresh mint from my herb garden)
Dried juniper berries
Peppercorns (I used Cambodian Kampot peppercorns from Silk Road as they’re very fragrant)
Edible flowers (mostly for decoration)
Fill your balloon glass with ice. You can also use a red wine glass or goblet-style beer glass.
Add aromatics to the ice.
Pour in 2 oz of Boodles Gin.
Top with tonic water.
Stir gently with a metal, reusable straw
Sip and enjoy!