We’ve also prepared a few Spanish delicacies for our friends back in the States (and documented it of course): Strawberry-Watermelon-Tomato Gazpacho, Romesco Sauce with Grilled Veggies, and Patatas Bravas.
Today … today it’s time to take you deep into the world of serious gin and tonics. No, not the low-effort American version with a sad wedge of lime perched on the rim of the glass. We’re talking about Spanish-style cocktails so hardcore they eschew the “and”. It’s just gin tonic. We don’t need no stinkin’ ampersand!
* The Copa de Balon glass: A Copa de Balon is a type of glass that is perfect for drinking gin and tonics. The glass is typically bulbous in shape, like a balloon, and sits on a stem almost like a red wine glass. The Copa de Balon glass dates back to the 1700s in the Basque region of northern Spain. While the English would use a long Tom Collins glass, the Spanish – who are said to be the largest drinkers of gin in Europe – developed the ‘balloon cup’ instead.
Monkey 43 gin: 1 blackberry; 2 juniper berries; 2 lime strips; 1 dash lavender bitters; Spritz of some essential oil inside the glass; Dry ice treatment
Blackwoods gin: 3 juniper berries; 1 small piece of cinnamon; 1 lime slice; 2 orange peel strips; 2 lime peel strips; 1 dash of lime bitters; Spritz of some essential oil; Dry ice treatment
Our favorite was made with a Spanish gin – Gin Mare – which features Mediterranean flavors. Recipe below.
Naturally our House Bar Chef Ilise had to recreate this wondrous tipple at home. Here’s how she did it.
- Gin = Gin Mare, a Spanish gin flavored with olives, thyme, rosemary and basil
- Tonic = Fever-Tree NOTE: Fever Tree makes several flavors of tonic water. They’re all good and any would work well in this cocktail. We’re partial to the original blend, Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water.
- Aromatics = Arbequina olives; cardamom pods; juniper berries; fresh rosemary sprigs; lime and orange citrus strips
- Bitters: Citron bitters are authentic; we used orange bitters which work just as well
- Ice = Precisely 7 oblong cubes are used in the Spanish recipe. We took some liberties with the quantity and shape, but it is “A Must” to use large, solid, slow-melting ice cubes.
Recipe source: Ilise Goldberg, based on technique observed at La Gintoneria Donostiarra in San Sebastián, Spain
Yield: One cocktail
- 2 ounces Chilled Gin (for this recipe Gin Mare is the preferred gin)
- 4 Juniper berries
- 1 Small Spanish Green Olive
- 1 Rosemary Sprig
- 2 Cardamom Pods
- 2 Strips of Orange Zest
- 2 Strips of Lime Zest
- 1 Dash Orange Bitters
- 1 Bottle of Cold Fever-Tree Tonic Water (200ml approx. 6.8 ounces)
- Place the juniper berries, cardamom pods, rosemary sprig and olive in the bottom of a Copa de Balon glass* or wide bottomed Burgundy/pinot noir glass. (Both glasses hold somewhere around 20-26 ounces).
- Pour the cold gin into the glass.
- Zest the orange and lime over the glass so the essential oils drop into the glass and blanket the glass; then drop the zest into the glass.
- Add many solid ice cubes (I have used six or seven 1-ounce square cubes or three-four 2-ounce round cubes).
- Using a long spoon mix the ingredients well with the ice to chill and then run the spoon over the top of the glass.
- Slowly pour the tonic water into the glass. Using your long spoon gently stir the cocktail to mix the drink.