God save the aperitif. When the late afternoon approaches, the desire for an aperitif begins to be felt and the question is: "What do we drink?". At home, for heaven's sake, because the rule is #iorestoacasa and we certainly don't want to frustrate the efforts made so far. The answer, simple and crystalline, is one: Gin Tonic! Nothing prevents us from preparing ourselves as if we had to go out and connect with some friends for a bit of healthy virtual sociality. Or we can have a healthy aperitif in a suit, in front of the TV, alone or well accompanied by our quarantine colleagues.
Although Gin Tonic is the "cocktail for dummies" par excellence, it is not as simple as it seems. The boundary between a tasty Gin Tonic and a medicine is extremely blurred, not surprisingly, both gin and tonic have beneficial powers: the juniper distillate was used to treat gout, the tonic cinchona spread as an anti-malarial. Then? Follow these 10 rules to prepare the best homemade appetizers of your life. At home and with what you have available, because it is superfluous to call the courier for a very useful jigger, which, hopefully, once the lockdown is over, will remain in the drawer for years.
It's rule number one: the larger the ice, the slower it melts and the more the drink gets water. This is the reason why "iceballs" have spread in bars, that is, ice balls or "chunks", cubes or parallelepipeds always full of ice. If it is trivial that to make Gin Tonic you must have gin and tonic water, less obvious is that you must have prepared the ice properly. So, if you don't have the silicone shapes for making iceballs or chunks, take the old ice-cream trays, fill them with water (preferably packaged), cover them in order to reduce the risk that they take bad smells from the freezer, turn them out. And be generous with the ice in the glass. Ah, and don't forget to wash your hands, both before preparing the ice and proceeding with the cocktail.
Obviously it's up to you to choose the gin that best suits your taste, as long as it is of good quality. Normally at the counter the bartender would ask you which style of gin you prefer, between dry, floral, citrus, spicy and so on. If you do not have a bartender friend to ask for advice on purchases, prepare yourself by looking at the botanical cards and put one of the search keys above to guide you in your choice. Gin is not necessary to put it in the fridge because it will be the first thing you will refrigerate with ice, if you do it however it doesn't hurt.
Here too the choice is based on your tastes, but if you are newbies we suggest you start with the most common and unflavoured ones, at least not to start with the experiments with your first Gin Tonics. Once you take our hand you can dare. Obviously the tonic water must be strictly kept in the refrigerator, otherwise the ice would melt too quickly.
The order of appearance of the ingredients is as follows. First the ice, rotate it in the glass to cool it and when you see the condensation it will be time to drain the ice. In the best bars, the ice used is thrown away and more is put in to accommodate the gin. Another swirl with the spoon (the bartender's spoon, but any spoon or cocktail stick is fine) to cool the gin properly, so we are ready for the top of the tonic.
Some go by eye, but in general the barman relies on the standard doses of the jigger, the bartender measuring spoon made up of two inverted cones. The large cone is for measuring the dose of gin: 1/3 gin and 2/3 tonic is the standard size, however the writer has always appreciated the service of the tonic aside in the bars. Not having a jigger, help yourself with a coffee cup, keeping the proportions.
Balloon or tumbler: these are the names of the glasses that are usually used for Gin Tonic. The first is a stem glass with a very generous cup, designed in Spain, where Gin Tonic had a greater diffusion than in Italy. The second is a tall stemless glass. If you do not have these glasses, you can use a wine stem glass, preferably red which has a more generous cup and looks more like a balloon.
Do not mix
Do you have one of those delicious cocktail sticks? Okay, it's time to use it, but not to mix your drink. The stick is used to pour the tonic gently, safeguarding the bubbles. If you start to mix your drink nervously, you will do double damage: the precious bubbles will degrade and the ice will melt and water your drink.
It is called the decoration of the cocktail, but be careful not to make a salad. Do not exaggerate, there is no need: the rule of less is more, that is, some juniper berries or one of the botanicals contained in gin, whether it is lemon peel (citrus fruit cut with the peeler and never tread, so as not to take the white) or a sprig of rosemary or thyme.
It is the food accompaniment of the cocktail, essential if you are drinking on an empty stomach. Tarallini or white pizza always do their duty, but with Gin Tonic there are evergreens with which you can never go wrong like parmesan. The umami taste, the sweetness alternating with the flavor of the cheese marries wonderfully with the bitter note of the tonic and the juniper, in addition the bubbles degrease. Paradigm that applies with cheeses in general and also with many types of cold cuts. The fact of the bubbles that degrease also applies to fried food, but in general to orient oneself in the choice of food in combination it is recommended to go into the details of the botanicals of gin. If it is a very Mediterranean gin, for example, what better accompaniment than fried sage leaves?
Well, one Gin Tonic leads to another, although we always advise you to drink responsibly. However, #iorestoacasa means that you won't have to drive, so you can give yourself a second Gin Tonic every now and then.