I’m so excited to be heading to Spain soon for my long-awaited vacay. Of course I’m anticipating chowing down on tapas or pintxos (depending on what part of Spain I am in), sangria, and some great Spanish wines. But all I’ve been reading about Spain lately is the craze over the Spanish version of Gin & Tonic, or as it’s known there, a Gin Tonic.

As my vacay falls in the warm-to-hot month of June, I know I will want something cold and refreshing to temper my bar hopping. And I’m pretty sure I won’t be finding my San Diego craft IPA’s in too many places. And one can only drink so much bottled water. But I have to keep in mind that Spaniards drink their Gin Tonics AFTER dinner, not as a cocktail before dinner as I would do here in the US.

I’ve been long accustomed to my American bar version, a highball glass partially filled with ice, a pour of gin (Tanqueray, preferably), and topped off with tonic water and a squeeze of lime. In Spain the Gin Tonic has gone from a basic bar drink to an elevated art form.

First you begin with a large-bowl wine glass with a long stem, called a  copa de balon.  Fill it 3/4 with ice, preferably large blocks of ice. Then using a swizzle stick, stir ice until glass is chilled.

Copa de Balon with ice, swirled to chill glass

Aromatics are the key to a Spanish Gin Tonic, I’m using a little lemon and lime rind to scent the rim of one glass for one drink. Another glass will be scented with orange rind. This will also be the glass that I am using gin I infused earlier today with juniper berries, cardamom pods, and pink peppercorns.


Then add a high quality tonic (not those mass produced ones with HFCS [high fructose corn syrup]). I use Fever Tree (UK) and Llanllyr Source (Wales). And these brands also have some infusions such as Elderflower.

2 Tonics for 2 Gin Tonics, glass on right infused with botanicals

So give the Spanish Gin Tonic a try and experiment with some of your own botanicals such as rosemary, basil, or lemon verbena. It’s a tasty take on an old standard.

Gin Tonics & Botanicals





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