This post is part of a partnership with Mountain Rose Herbs. All opinions are my own. You can learn more about my favorite purveyor of organic herbs & spices here.
Not only is today Friday, but it also happens to be one of the best days of the year – International Gin & Tonic Day!
I absolutely love a fresh, bubbly gin & tonic and wouldn’t miss the opportunity to fully immerse myself in this holiday. Today I’m serving up crisp G&Ts garnished with juniper, pomegranate, and rosemary along side a batch of fresh Juniper Lime Cookies. I used organic juniper berries and lime peel powder from Mountain Rose Herbs, and whipped up an easy juniper cream & lime glaze to intensify those delicious, iconic flavors in the cookies. I garnished both the cocktails and cookies with a bit of rosemary to lend that fresh, woodsy aroma that’s so comforting this time of year.
How to Make the Perfect Gin & Tonic
There are a lot of opinions out there about what makes the perfect gin and tonic, but I think everyone can agree that you need to begin with a quality gin and a quality tonic water or tonic syrup. Like any cocktail, it will only be as good as the sum of its parts, and poor quality ingredients can ruin the entire experience.
Cheap tonic waters made with corn syrup are often overly sweet, which not only kills the crisp + refreshing vibe, but can throw the cocktail off balance, making it just not taste very good. A gin & tonic is a great example of a cocktail that balances the flavor of the spirit with bitter, sweet, and sour flavors. To create harmony, it’s important to not have any one taste category dominating the drink. Think of the last time you had a poorly made drink at a bar. What was so bad about it? Most likely it was either too strong or too sweet.
When building our gin and tonic, we want to first avoid these two issues by making sure we have a good-tasting gin, a well-made tonic water and a balanced ratio of these two primary ingredients. I like to use 2 oz of gin to about 5-6 oz tonic water (1:3 ratio). Next, and also super important is citrus! I love a classic gin and tonic with lime, and I make sure to choose ripe, fresh limes every time. A good lime should feel heavy in your hand, have fairly smooth skin, and give a little when you squeeze it. If it’s hard as rock or has very lumpy or patchy skin, it’s not going to give you the best tasting (or very much) juice. I choose an average sized lime and squeeze half of its juice into my gin and tonics, but you can use less if you prefer.
The next component of a perfect G&T is ice. As always, ice is critical to a good cocktail experience. Good quality ice (made with good-tasting water) is key, and use a copious amount of it! I like to fill my glass completely, and then build the cocktail over the ice, sometimes adding even more ice so that it’s super-chilled.
The final factor is glassware. I think it goes without saying that I have a thing for glassware, but it really does make a difference. Different folks prefer different styles of glassware for their gin & tonics, but I’m partial to balloon-shaped glasses or wide, rounded tumblers or stemless wine glasses because they allow you to take in the aroma of the gin and fully experience it while sipping. My husband is partial to a nice tall Collins glass, and I know some people who prefer a simple rocks glass. There’s no right or wrong answer here – it’s just worth considering, and trying a few different styles of glass to see what you like best, and what makes for the best experience for YOU. There’s a lot of elitist info out there regarding cocktail recipes, formulas, and rules, but ultimately, we all have different tastes, and the only thing that matters is that it’s YOUR perfect gin & tonic. I hope these pointers will help you to hone in on what that means for you!
Cocktail-inspired cookies are my new obsession – so expect to see some more of these recipes as the holidays approach. I show my love through baked goods, what can I say? I worked on this cookie recipe for a while to arrive at a flavor and consistency I liked best. These are quite junipery, which I love, but if you prefer a more subtle flavor, omit the juniper powder from the cookies and just go with the juniper-infused cream glaze. Now, on to the recipes!
What are you doing to celebrate today? Tag me @moodymixologist in your G&T day photos!
Perfect Gin & Tonic Recipe
2 oz quality gin (I used Bombay Sapphire)
½ a ripe lime’s juice
5-6 oz quality tonic water
Plenty of ice
Fill a tall glass or balloon glass with ice.
Squeeze in half of a lime’s juice
Pour in 2 oz of gin and top with tonic.
Stir well, and top with more ice if needed.
Garnish with a slice of lime, or to your taste (I use fresh rosemary, pomegranate arils, and juniper berries for a fresh, colorful, and woodsy sipper).
Juniper Lime Cookies
Yield: About 2 dozen cookies
2 cups (300g) all purpose flour
1 cup (200g) butter
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
1 tbsp juniper berries
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp lime peel powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, grind the juniper berries into a powder.
Mix dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
Add wet ingredients and mix until incorporated. I don’t have a stand mixer and typically just mix my dough by hand.
Shape dough into balls about 1 1/2 inches. Place 2 inches apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets.
Bake 15-20 minutes or until edges start to brown. Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before glazing.
Juniper & Lime Glaze
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tbsp lime juice
¾ cup juniper-infused cream*
Fresh rosemary (optional)
Place sugar in a large bowl. Mix in lime juice and as much juniper-infused cream is needed to reach desired consistency. Spread onto cooled cookies. Top each cookie with a piece of rosemary, if desired.
1 cup light cream
½ cup juniper berries, lightly crushed
Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat on medium-low heat, stirring frequently until it begins to bubble. Simmer 5 minutes on low heat, stirring then remove from heat, cover and chill in the fridge overnight (or for at least several hours). In the morning, strain out berries and use in glaze recipe.