Jean & Tony.
It’s a tough life being a bartender*. Among many other frustrations you have to put up with the absolute inability of some people to order a drink properly. Case study: One busy night I had a large group of middle-aged Spanish† tourists looking somewhat confused at the corner of my bar. Eventually one separated from the herd, approached the bar and announced triumphantly “wan Jean en Tony”. I correctly deduced that he wanted a gin & tonic so made him such and politely told him the price. He held a finger in the air turned to his crew, turned back and said “en wan Jean en Tony”. This continued for some time, punctuated only by the odd “wan we ski coca” and my increasingly annoyed requests for a total number of Jean & Tony’s and We Ski Coca’s. Then they spent about ten minutes assembling the correct payment (yes, individually). Look; I can make seven gin & tonics and four whisky & cola’s in no time at all but, ordered like this, it takes an eternity followed by another eternity clearing the backlog that the first one caused. Fifteen years later I literally still have nightmares reliving that order. And I’ve never been able to pronounce “gin and tonic” correctly since. Let’s see if we can at least salvage something from the source of my PTSD.
Gin is a wonderful spirit but it sadly never gets much of a chance to fully express itself. I’ve been playing with the idea of a sort of super-concentrated gin and tonic for a while now and I was about to infuse some gin with tonic botanicals (mostly cinchona bark) when I spotted a bottle of Bitter Truth‡ Tonic Bitters; well that would save a lot of fuss! Combined with a little sweetness and a hint of lemon that would give us the absolute essence of a gin & tonic without all that pesky wetness. There’s nothing for your gin to hide behind in this recipe so make it a good gin; something with a bit of character and finesse. Something like the magnificently bonkers Drumshanbo Irish gunpowder gin. Does it work? Does the Pope wear a funny hat?
Jean & Tony.
2oz / 60ml of a good quality dry gin (I used Drumshanbo gunpowder gin).
1 teaspoon (5ml) simple syrup (1:1).
4 good dashes of Bitter Truth Tonic Bitters.
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled champagne coupé or Nick & Nora glass (pictured) containing a coiled strip of lemon peel. For extra lemonicity strain the drink over the lemon peel.
Toast bartenders. And please make their lives easier by ordering intelligently.
*Which is why I don’t do it anymore.
†Don’t get me wrong; I love Spain and all things Spanish. They are a wonderfully warm people with a great attitude to food and drink. And the whole gin and tonic revival started there. They are sometimes clueless at ordering in a bar though.
‡These guys make some very fine bitters and other products. Why their orange bitters suck so much is a complete mystery to me.