How to serve gin

How to serve gin and tonic tells you how to serve the perfect gin and tonic. Its all depends on the glass, the ice, the gin, the tonic and the garnish.

Three gins in gin glasses
A heavy bottom.

We’ve all seen it. The limp, warm gin and tonic served with a flat tonic and a pitiful slice of lemon. If you were around in the seventies and eighties, that’s pretty much how gin was served. The fact that there only ever seemed to be one brand of gin and one brand of tonic available didn’t help.

Fast forward to today. We’re spoiled by serving suggestions and options. In England recently we were treated to a gin and tonic served with rhubarb sticks and liquorice. Not as bad as it sounds, apart from the rhubarb sticks and liquorice.

How you serve your gin is up to you, but we think there are some basic pointers that might help:

1. The glass

Large bowl glasses for gin are becoming more popular and are an opportunity to add to the visual presentation. They work well in bars and pubs (probably as they can charge a fortune for them) and are great if you want to serve something special at home too. However, if you just fancy a gin and tonic, we recommend a tall glass to keep the bubbles in (and to take the ice). We also recommend cooling or freezing the glass if you can. A few minutes in the freezer really helps.

2. The ice

Warm gin isn’t something we like. Let’s be clear on that. Most gins really benefit from having their icy companions. Remember that you can spoil and taint a good gin with poor quality ice (not all ice is the same). Use a good quality ice that has come from filtered or pure water. A lot of distillers are really careful about the water source for their gins, so don’t ruin their hard work.

3. The gin

Next, pour in a good quality gin. Quality is a must; it’s why we set up this website after all. We tend to keep our gins in a cool place, and can often place them in the fridge for a little while before serving. We don’t recommend the freezer. Just a little below room temperature works for us, but don’t worry too much about this if you’re going with ice and a nice cool glass. Also worth considering what the distiller might recommend for each gin too.

4. The tonic (or mixer)

For a gin and tonic, a rule of thumb is that use should use double the amount of tonic to gin. However, as you can see from our gin reviews, this can be flexed to taste. This also assumes you’re having a gin and tonic. As with the ice, make sure you use a good tonic. Some can be very bitter. We currently recommend Fever Tree tonic. It’s consistently good (and there’s a great pairing tool on their website too). Please don’t use the stuff from the guns in bars and pubs. It’ll ruin the gin. We also prefer full fat tonic. Diet tonic can have an odd, sickly taste. Finally, a fresh bottle of tonic is really important to avoid it being flat. The single serving bottles are ideal.

5. The garnish

We’re not garnish snobs here at For a nice simple gin, a simple wedge of fresh lemon can work well. The same goes for lime and grapefruit. The key is to use a fresh garnish and, if using a citrus fruit, don’t squeeze it in. Many of our individual gin reviews express our preferred garnishes with each of the gins. Each gin is individual, after all. However, you’ll certainly find what works best for you and don’t be afraid to experiment.

6. The finish

Stir, serve and enjoy.

That’s how we serve the perfect gin. Now, over to you. Let us know how you like yours!

2 thoughts on “How to serve gin and tonic”

    1. Vielen Dank! That’s very kind of you. It’s how we like to serve a gin and tonic, but others may have different ideas too 😉

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