How to make the best Gin Tonic

Published by Bastien Poulain the

Or how to make a successful gin and tonic every time.

How to make the best gin and tonic


Let's start with the simple principle that not everyone is a mixologist! I don't know how to make a lavender-infused white chocolate syrup. Okay, then!

I was able, through the years, to learn simple rules that now make my family ask me to be behind the bar when we have parties.

No pretense in that, just "common sense".

To make the best gin and tonic, 4 things are essential:

  • The ice
  • Gin (hello!)
  • The Tonic (ALLO!)
  • Trim

A cold gin and tonic please!

Ice is often underestimated. Despite the fact that I wasn't the best student in my high school chemistry classes, I did remember one rule: the more ice cubes, the less it melts.

Let's face it, a gin and tonic that's half hot, half water is not very good. Whether it's in a cocktail or a simple gin and tonic, put ice in the right amount.

To my personal taste, I always put half the glass (at least) with ice. It keeps the gin and tonic fresh and the ice from diluting your cocktail. Better, longer. A gin and tonic is not a shot (although...! :P).

Choosing the best gin... for you!

Well, it gets tougher. There is a lot of gin. A lot of it. A lot of gin. From the grain to the bottle, floral, changing color, tasting like cucumber... I would tell you to go with your own palate. You have to taste, discover. It's like oysters, you don't know you like it until you taste it.

Quebec gins, best gin and tonic


For my part, I have, of course, a preference for a Quebec gin. We have very good products here. Passionate people who work very hard. So, for me, it's 100% Quebec gin.

However, there are also very good imported products. To each his own!

For the amount of gin in your gin and tonic, I would say it's going to depend on the glass you use. A highball, a wine glass... it's going to depend. Me, I don't like it too strong, so I'll go for 1 ounce, 1 1/2 ounces. 

Choosing the right tonic for your Gin Tonic

"If you have a $45/$50 bottle of gin, it's a shame to waste it on an overly sweet tonic that will cover up all the flavours in the gin."

Now we're talking! 

Well, without claiming to be the tonic guru, we've been making tonics for 7 years and 1642 is fortunate to have a loyal community that puts us among the market leaders!

The farting sequence is over.

Not all tonics are created equal, but I would say the same is true for gin. I often say, "If you have a $45/$50 bottle of gin, it's a shame to waste it on an overly sweet tonic that will cover up all the flavours in the gin."

1642 light tonic, 1642 elderflower tonic, 1642 tonic, best gin and tonic


That's true for a $45 gin, but it's also true for a $30 gin. Ninety-five percent of people who drink gin drink it with tonic. You might as well choose the best.

What I look at first in a tonic: the amount of sugar and what sugar we're talking about. Personally, I don't like the taste of aspartame or stevia, so that's a big no-no for me. I'd rather drink less gin and tonic than drink lots of bad ones.

"I'd rather drink less gin and tonic than drink a lot of bad ones."

Between 6 and 8 grams of sugar per 100ml is fine for me. It doesn't cover the taste of the gin and you still get a little kick from the sugar that enhances everything.

To get the perfect gin and tonic, I count 1/3 gin, 2/3 1642 tonic. I mix, taste, and if it's too strong, I add more tonic.

Your gin and tonic is so beautiful!

A slice of lime is nice, but there are plenty of other options!

In my favorites and often available in my fridge :

  • A cucumber ribbon
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • A small bunch of basil
  • One slice of grapefruit
  • A touch of citrus
gin and tonic garnish, best gin and tonic


The idea is to be able to drink a simple gin and tonic, with simple ingredients, but that still makes you want to. Impressing the visitor with two/three tricks always works.

Drinking with the eyes is pleasant. The garnish, often forgotten, makes you thirsty and awakens the senses.

A great trick to creating a perfect gin and tonic is to put a complementary flavouring to the gin as a garnish. For example, a bunch of basil with the 3 Lakes Distillery Lime and Basil Gin goes great.

In short... 

Beyond the gin and tonic, the most important thing to remember is that the best gin and tonic is the one that makes you happy. Have fun, that's the most important thing!

On that note, I'm going to make myself a gin and tonic (with the 1642 tonic, of course), because all this has made me thirsty.



(Apprentice mixologist in the making and fake tonic guru)