Massimo D’Addezio's tips for combining tonic with liqueurs and spirits and going beyond the Gin & Tonic combination
Who said that tonic is only good with gin? After the great return of the Gin Tonic, a large quantity of different gins and tonics have been placed on the market. The latter differ in the perlage, the sugar content and, in some cases, the flavoring. The result is a potentially infinite number of combinations. What if we change the alcoholic base? The potential combinations increase and, therefore, we asked an expert to guide us. Our Virgil, in this journey in the bottles, even in those abandoned by his grandmother who could hide treasures, is Massimo D’Addezio, the patron of Chorus in Rome, as well as great teacher of many Roman bartenders.
The rule of the four whites
As Massimo D'Addezio says: "The four whites are the great lovers of tonic". But who are the four whites? Apart from the already known gin, there is vodka, and this is not surprising, considering that Vodka Tonic also had its golden moment. But those that are less obvious are rum and tequila. In the first case, emphasizes D'Addezio, the use of a white rum, never an amber one, is fundamental. "It is a custom, especially in the States. I learned it from the Bacardi family, Bacardi Carta Blanca and Schweppes ", an unexpectedly good combination for D’Addezio. Tequila & Tonic has its say too, although so far it has been better known in combination with soda (remember tequila bum bum?). "In the boom years more than one confused soda with tonic, but basically tequila is good with both." Be careful, however, not to exchange Tequila for Mezcal, which has a pronounced smoking and which ends up being "too much" according to the Roman barman.
With grape distillates, tonic with little sugar
Don't you know what to make of that grappa at the bottom of the bottle shelf? Here is a way to consume it easily, which makes it relatively easy to drink and mix a type of distillate known to be complex to use in cocktails. But pay attention to the choice of the tonic. "The grape distillate, grappa and Peruvian pisco, being close relatives of the wine, require a balance of sweetness, using a low sugar tonic, with a more bitter taste. Be careful, however, this does not mean trivially using sugar-free tonics, because those are correct with sweeteners and some are even sweeter . Again for a problem of excess sugar, D’Addezio excludes that the combination is successful between vermout and tonic. «An exception is Martini Rubino, which I got to appreciate.
Unexpected results with bitters and bitters
Who would have thought that bitters, the expression of a great Italian liqueur tradition, would have lived a new life today? Absolute or mixed, they are the basis of a real rediscovery by bartenders from all over the world. For D’Addezio, drinking with bitters and bitters is a real revelation. Your favorite with the tonic? Il Rinomato, the aperitif created by colleague Giancarlo Mancino. Great results also with Amaro Montenegro and Ramazzotti, with Aperol and Aperitivo Casoni. Even limoncello, if it is not too sweet, can give satisfactions. And an opportunity for Addezio would also give it to sherry, as long as it is the driest. Be careful, however, because in all these cases strictly clear and clean tonics must be chosen, not too complex, because as Massimo says, "the candy effect is around the corner".