THE DEFINITIVE: Gin & Tonic (cocktail)
As with many libations, the Gin and Tonic began life as a medicinal drink. Tonic water, which contains quinine -- an active ingredient that aids in preventing malaria, was initially prescribed to British troops in the East during the 18th century to help fight the disease. However, the extraordinarily bitter taste of quinine proved to be anything but palatable to the British and many refused to drink it. Because of this, gin was then added to give the tonic a more pleasant taste and thus was born the Gin and Tonic.
While this resulted in a successful means of administering medicine, it also became a desired drink even back home in the pubs of Britain where there was no need to fight malaria. With such a harmonious balance of bitter and sweet, it is easy to understand its popularity. Not many drinks can compare with how crisp and refreshing a Gin and Tonic is on a warm day. It is perfect for summer cookouts or just to drink casually in the evening at a bar. Always classy and never pretentious, the Gin and Tonic makes for an excellent drink of choice no matter the context.
*Additional notes: A splash of fresh squeezed lime juice makes for an excellent compliment to the drink. If a juicer is not available, this can also be achieved by squeezing another lime wedge (in addition to the garnish) over the drink, releasing its juice and oils from the rine, and tossing it in. Although I shy away from it myself, a splash of Sprite or 7 Up can add a bit of lime sweetness as well.
If you do decide to add lime juice, be sure to do so prior to the tonic. It will distribute evenly throughout the drink as the tonic is poured in.
Most importantly, the trick to a really great G&T is to slowly stir in the tonic while pouring.