This ain’t your grandma’s gin and tonic recipe! Raid your herb garden, and let’s get mixing.
This spin on a gin and tonic recipe doesn’t even use tonic water. Instead, it uses one of my favorite sodas: bitter lemon. If you can’t find bitter lemon at the store, you can use tonic instead. It still has that quinine flavor, but I like the lemony twist in bitter lemon a lot more.
When I was 13 or 14 my parents took me and my little sister to London. We ate at Crank’s, walked on Carnaby Street, and saw Les Miserables. It was such a fun trip, and drinking a bitter lemon brings it all back. I had a Schweppes Bitter Lemon on the plane ride over, and it was basically all that I wanted to drink while we were there.
Dave knows that I still love a bitter lemon soda as a treat, so when the beautiful print proof arrived for BOWLS!, he picked up a few bottles for me. This gin and tonic recipe was inspired by the tangy, bitter, subtly sweet bottle of sodapop.
My original plan was to make a totally different cocktail with gin, bitter lemon, and a dash of Campari. But I have some sad news for you guys: Campari uses gelatin in the refining process! I found a similar bitters that is vegan, but I was so bummed about the whole Campari thing, I decided to scrap that idea and go a different direction, making this lemony spin on a gin and tonic recipe instead.
I’ve never been able to find fresh lavender at the store, but you can sometimes find it dried. You can use 1 teaspoon dried lavender in this cocktail in place of the fresh, if you’d like.
Lavender-Lemon Gin and Tonic Recipe
Yield: 1 cocktail
- 2 ounces of good gin
- 1 tablespoon fresh lavender leaves
- juice of 1/4 a fresh lemon
- 1 6.8-ounce bottle bitter lemon soda (I used this on from Fever Tree. You can substitute tonic water, in a pinch.)
- lavender sprig and lemon wedge, for garnish
- In a tall glass, muddle together the gin, lavender, and lemon juice, crushing up those leaves really well.
- Fill the glass with ice, top off with your bitter lemon or tonic, then garnish with the lavender and lemon wedge.