With temperatures in parts of the UK set to hit 30C this weekend, many Britons will be eagerly heading to their local pub garden for a few drinks.
And if your go-to order is a gin and tonic, new research will come as music to your ears.
Just in time for World Gin Day, scientists have revealed the recipe for the perfect gin and tonic.
Natalie Alibrandi, a food industry consultant from the UK, says that crescent-shaped ice cubes are essential to ensure the drink melts as slowly as possible and isn’t diluted.
It’s also best to ditch the straw, she says, as sipping from the glass provides more aroma and enhances the experience.
Just in time for World Gin Day, scientists have revealed the recipe for the perfect gin and tonic
Natalie Alibrandi, a food industry consultant from the UK, says that crescent-shaped ice cubes are essential to ensure the drink melts as slowly as possible and isn’t diluted
THE 10-STEP RECIPE FOR A PERFECT G&T
- Chill your gin
- Chill a Copa de Balon glass
- Chill tonic water
- Make fresh crescent-shaped ice cubes
- Use small units of tonic water with higher carbonation from a single-serve can or glass bottle
- Fill the chilled glass to the rim with fresh ice cubes
- Pour 50ml chilled London Dry Gin into the glass
- Pour 150ml chilled tonic water into the glass
- Garnish using a piece of lemongrass, dried mango and sprig of pine
- Gently stir and enjoy within 30 minutes
A cold gin and tonic cocktail numbs the taste buds and creates a smoother tasting alcohol rather than having a sharp bite at the aftertaste
The ideal receptacle for the drink is the Copa de Balon, or balloon gin glass, which has a bulbous shape and thin stem, Ms Alibrandi claims in a study commissioned by spirits company Quintessential Brands.
Its large volume is capable of holding plenty of ice, while the stem is designed to keep warm hands away from the cup, ensuring the ice doesn’t melt.
The balloon shape allows botanical aromas and vapours to be contained within the glass for a more aromatic drinking experience for palate and nose.
And when it comes to the tonic water, you can’t scrimp on quality.
Ms Alibrandi said: ‘A tonic water with higher carbonation is best, so check the label.
‘A carbonation level of 4.5 CO₂ is ideal, as lower carbonation will have lower CO2 retention and lose desired bubbles and mouthfeel over time.
‘By opting for tonic water with a carbonation level of 4.5 it will have prolonged stability, allowing you to enjoy your G&T for longer.’
Large plastic bottles do not maintain the carbonation of the liquid as well as cans or glass bottles, and they tend to have more permeability to air.
The single-serve, recyclable mini cans or glass bottles will produce the optimum drink, as the more times the receptacle is opened, the more bubbles are lost.
The tonic should be poured in slowly, and never stirred more than twice or else you run the risk of your drink losing the fizz too quickly.
The perfect drink even comes down to the ice, which should be from fresh water and recently frozen to give the best taste.
It is also important the ice melts slowly and does not dilute the cocktail, so the more ice cubes the better.
The optimal ice shape in a gin and tonic is crescent, which keeps its shape longer than a cube and melts more slowly so as to not dilute the cocktail as you drink it
IDEAL G&T MEASUREMENTS
Glass capacity = 500 – 800 ml
Glass stem length = 9.5 – 12.5 cm
Glass rim diameter = 75 – 95 mm
Ice = 0.5 x 1.13 x 1.5 inches (crescent shaped)
Tonic carbonation = 4.5 CO₂
Tonic-to-Gin ratio = 3:1
Gin temperature = -18ºC
Glass temperature = -4ºC
Tonic water temperature = 5ºC
Number of stirs = Up to two
The shape of the ice is also essential – the larger its surface area the more quickly it melts, as more of it is exposed to the warmer liquid.
While the most common ice shape is a cube or cuboid easily made in ice trays, this has a large surface area-to-volume ratio and melts faster.
The optimal ice shape is crescent, which is much more solid so keeps its shape longer and melts more slowly.
It’s also more slender than rectangular ice cubes allowing for more ice in the glass.
In addition, the liquid’s temperature is significant, and to prevent the ice melting too quickly it should be kept as cool as possible.
The gin should ideally be kept in the freezer with the glass chilled and ice freshly frozen.
A cold beverage numbs the taste buds and creates a smoother tasting alcohol rather than having a sharp bite at the aftertaste.
Gin contains terpenoid compounds which are responsible for its complex flavour profile.
Terpenes are the scent molecules found in plants and are what adds to the unique aroma and flavour profiles of different ingredients, including gin.
The tonic should be poured into the gin slowly, and the cocktail should never be stirred more than twice or else you run the risk of your drink losing the fizz too quickly
Ms Alibrandi found that the most common terpenes found in London Dry Gin were best complemented by the unusual garnish combination of mango and pine – foregoing the traditional lime slice.
She said: ‘The optimum drinking weather is at a temperature of 21ºC and above – not too hot to melt your drink, but warm enough so that the G&T is cooling and refreshing.
THE BEST FOODS TO HAVE WITH A G&T
Floral or fruity gin – Citrus dessert
eg Chamomile and lemon baked apples
Spiced gin – Savoury dish
eg Salmon or a herb-based pasta dish
London Dry gin – Cheese board
eg Smoked Gouda
‘To make sure a gin and tonic is enjoyed while bearing in mind all variables it should be consumed within 30 minutes.
‘The carbonation level will have reduced by nearly half after 30 minutes, while the ice will likely melt within 15-20 minutes.’
She adds it is also important to not drink your cocktail with a straw, as sipping from the glass provides more aroma and enhances the experience.
While many of us like to enjoy a G&T as our first drink to kick off an evening, Ms Alibrandi says that you should not skip lunch beforehand in order to enjoy it to the maximum.
She said: ‘A neutral palette is best to enjoy the complex flavours of a G&T and it should always be drunk responsibly for optimal enjoyment.
‘You shouldn’t drink on an empty stomach due to the speed at which it passes through your stomach and enters the small intestine and be careful not to drink it too quickly.’
The perfect food to enjoy alongside your drink depends on the flavour profile of your gin of choice.
A floral or fruity gin goes well with citrus flavours as they enhance the refreshing notes and the terpenes found in the gin.
Spiced gin commonly contains the terpene Myrcene, that pairs well with savoury dishes as they enhance its herbal and citrus notes.
For a classic London dry gin, a strong, smoky cheese board provides the ultimate combination.
The contrasting flavours of cheese and the gin work as an excellent pairing and the bitterness of the tonic acts as a refreshing palette cleanser for maximum enjoyment.
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