Nothing says summer more than an ice cold gin and tonic on a hot day, but I have met my fair share of gin and tonic doubters over the years.  This classic cocktail’s typically strong juniper notes can cause folks to shy away from the drink based on flavor preferences, but following a few simple steps to create a “refined” gin and tonic yields impressive results. 

A gin and tonic was the first and only cocktail my dad taught me how to make and I have converted many gin doubters by following his simple secret recipe.  My dad cautions against haphazardly tossing ingredients in to a glass and his mixing order certainly elevates the drink to new heights.  

No-one wants to think about cleaning products at cocktail hour and squeezing the limes directly into the gin will immediately cut the pine flavor in the alcohol to tolerable levels for most palates.  After pining the gin, fill the glass with ice and pour the tonic over the ice.  Doing so mellows the bubbles in the tonic and yields a smooth and harmonious drink. Trust me, you’ll never think of a G&T the same way.

While taming the pine notes in a gin and tonic is essential to making it a mainstream favorite, the lingering conifer essences make for an ideal pairing with assorted shellfish.  Enjoy a retro shrimp cocktail and oysters on the patio with my dad’s “refined” gin and tonic in hand and celebrate summer in style.

The “Refined” Gin and Tonic 

I prefer to use Hendrick’s Scottish gin for this classic summer cocktail, but feel free to substitute your favorite brand.  Do not alter the mixing order for this drink.

  • 3oz Hendricks Gin
  • 1-2 Lime wedges
  • 6 Ice cubes
  • Tonic water

Pour the gin into a clean rocks glass.  Squeeze the lime(s) directly into the gin and then add the ice. Pour the tonic over the ice, stir with a wooden skewer and serve immediately.

Makes one cocktail.

Classic Cocktail Sauce

Whether you choose to serve your G & T’s with oysters, crab or shrimp, you should always make cocktail sauce from scratch.  It is a great way to save a few dollars because most folks have all the ingredients they need on hand.

  • ½ C Ketchup
  • 1 T Prepared horseradish*
  • 1T Fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients and chill before serving with assorted seafood.

*Don’t confuse spicy prepared horseradish with overly sweet horseradish sauce.  Farmer’s brand prepared horseradish is my favorite and can be found in the dairy section near the cream cheese.

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