I have been working in the field of catering and cocktails for the last six years. But for some time now I still think about the condition of simplicity and how can I pass my thoughts on the cocktails-drinks I serve daily. Simplicity is certainly a concept that often takes different forms, depending on the person who is trying to express.
We will meet it in a restaurant where the Chef with a simple set-up on his plate will serve complex tastes and sometimes on a painting where the painter with the simple “alchemy” of colors will portray his complex thoughts on the canvas. So I wonder, how can we, who work every day behind a bar to follow the modern tendencies of cocktails and express them in a simple way.
These were the thoughts I made in the summer of 2018 when I was asked to present a seminar during the Heraklion Coffee & Cocktail Week. I linked the simplicity of complexity, with the famous Gin & Tonic. I think we all have realized the rapid increase in the production of new and innovative Gins as well as drink mixers (tonic water, soda water).
How Complex is a Gin & Tonic? How different result do we have when changing our base? The Gin ie. When we change the tonic? The garnish? Sometimes the glass in which the Gin & Tonic will be served?
What is Gin & Tonic
Gin & Tonic is an alcoholic beverage in which we mix Gin with Tonic. The Gin, neutral distillate (at least 37,5 alcoholic degrees) which is redistilled with botanical solids, which give the final result of their aromatic character.
However, in order for the final product to be called Gin, one of the botanical solids must be the berries of the juniper or Juniperus. These magical berries are the basic flavor of Gin. They are considered spice and there are different varieties. Only the common Juniper (Juniper Communis) is used in the flavor of Gin.
For Tonic Water, it is soda that we have flavored with quinine. But you will ask me if you do not know, what is quinine? Quinine is, therefore, a bitter chemical compound isolated from the Cinchona Tree bark. This unique bark, therefore, had once been used as a cure against malaria and was the time when it would change the history of the world or at least the history of medicine. Interesting stories, right? Can I share another one with you? The story where these two good friends (nowadays) met or better told, were mixed for the first time!
When Gin met Tonic!
Nowadays, Gin & Tonic is considered a British drink. But Gin has its roots in Dutch spirit, Genever. Quinine in the Peruvian trunk of cinchona. It is said that the first Gin & Tonic was first mixed somewhere in India, around mid-1800, by the British East India Trading Company.
The moment of citrus!
In addition, the British Army in its voyages consumed quantities of lemon juice to prevent scurvy disease. Scurvy was a frequent disorder of sailors, explorers, and soldiers who were forced to feed on preserved foods poor in vitamin C. Interesting historical events, but we are going to mix our complex ingredients in a simple way! Mixing Complexity in Simple Way!
I recommend a Highball type glass of 250-300 ml, of course you can experiment and use different types of glasses.
Ask your guest if he has a preference. Does he want to try something different than what she’s used to drinking? There are so many Gins with different aromatic and tasty character that when you realize you’ll be surprised.
My humble view about ice is that once it enters our glass, it is also a basic ingredient of our recipe. So we ought to serve our drink with clean and good quality ice. Ice has an important role in the flavor.
Countless choices in Tonic, some even enhance Gin’s aromas, but they cover them again. Ask your guest if he wants a different Tonic, surely you have more than two choices in the place you work!
Citrus, fruit, spices. Yes and here the variety is great! Think differently and help Gin bring out its unique aromas!
Finally, have you asked yourself how simple is simplicity? Just think and allow this little blend to travel to through its magical world.