Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Martini Club Welcomes Barb Wallace & The Preppy Gin and Tonic

I have a confession to make. I hate gin. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law love gin and tonics, and have tried to get me to jump on that bandwagon. But sadly, I was already firmly in the "I love vodka" wagon, which I must say is a very festive place to be.

Nevertheless, the G&T is a classic and deserves to be in The Martini Club spotlight for sure. So, huge thanks to romance author Barbara Wallace for treating us to a nice little history of this preppy drink. I especially like the whole "it's medicinal" approach for cocktails. Doctor's orders....I swear! :^)

Take it away, Barb........


Grab your espadrilles and turn up your Izod collars!  As an honored guest of The Martini Club, I thought I’d take today and celebrate one of the classics - the  Gin and Tonic. 

Gin and Tonics (or G&Ts) are staples of the New England country club set.  The Ferncliffs of Nantucket, Daniel Moretti’s dysfunctional family in my book Weekend Agreement, down them with regularity. 

Believe it or not, when first created Gin and Tonics were medicinal.  Sort-of.  The British – those original waspy mothers of invention, created the drink in 19th century India as a way of encouraging people to drink Quinine Water.  Quinine, you may or may not remember, is used to treat malaria and was thought to repel mosquitoes.  It’s also a key ingredient in tonic water.  (Though to use G&Ts as a bug repellent now, you’d have to drink about 7 quarts.  I’m pretty sure you’d stop worrying about insects long before you finish treatment.)  Wonder if they had any idea that a couple centuries later, their medical breakthrough would become a favorite party drink among the rebellious colonists? 

Crafting a gin and tonic sounds easy enough – how hard can mixing gin with tonic water be, right?  But, as any good preppy mixologist would tell you, nothing as easy as it sound.  True G&T aficionados (like the Ferncliffs) won’t settle for anything less than the perfectly proper mixture. 

The key is twofold.  First, you need to use actual tonic water.  Club soda simply won’t do.  After all, the drink isn’t called a Gin and Soda; you need bitterness of the quinine to balance the taste.  (And before you think I am being a master of the obvious, my research revealed that using soda water spray is a lot of more common than you think.)

The second key is the right gin.  You want one that has a good botanical base – a technical term meaning the liquor needs to have a strong juniper base.  Naturally the higher end gins do.  My advice – you can’t go wrong with Tanqueray.

Once you have the proper ingredients, then the recipe really is easy:

2 oz Gin
Tonic Water (remember the quinine! We don’t want you getting malaria on the beach)
Wedge of lime

Fill a Tom Collins glass with ice 
Add Gin.  (Make sure your ice and glass are chilled)
Fill to rim with Tonic Water
Squeeze lime wedge to add a hint of flavor  (If you want, you can also rim the glass with lime juice or use the wedge as a garnish.)

There you have it!  A perfect Gin and Tonic just the way Daniel Moretti and his family would like it. 

If you want to know more about Daniel, his family or his romance with Charlotte Doherty, check out Penny’s review.  Or, you can purchase Weekend Agreement and read it yourself. 


Thanks, Barb, for this fun post! I loved Weekend Agreement and would heartily enjoy drinking any cocktail with Daniel Moretti.  The whole preppy thing is taking me back to high school.....

Remember these shoes?

Ugh! Did we really think these were cool? 

Happy Sloshy Sunday!


Unknown said...

Ishbel likes a G &T me, yuk and I am reminded of the anecdote froma TV cook who drank them like water and after a blood test at the hospital the doctor asked her if she suffered from and had Malaria. "No," she replied, "why do you ask." "Well," said he, "we have only ever seen that much quinine in someone's blood who is being treated for that particular disease!" Quinine, of course an active ingredient in tonic water!

Clarissa Dickson-Wright, and she was one half of the 'Two Fat Ladies'. they were so funny her partner Jennifer Paterson died 12 yrs ago from lung cancer, smoked like a lum, she has a page on Wikipedia, should check her out and DVD's are available of them in the US

Casey Wyatt said...

Hi Barbara! I have to agree with Penny, not a big fan of gin. But it makes me think - classy cocktail - something the suave set likes to drink.And it brings back found memories of my great aunts, who never met a cocktail they wouldn't drink!

See you in a two weeks at Fiction Fest!

Penny Watson said...

Hi Tom! I think folks are either on the gin bandwagon, or would rather fling their bodies off a bridge. (Hopefully into a vat of vodka). ;^) Ishbel sounds quite civilized!

Penny Watson said...

Hi is a classy cocktail. A G&T would never be caught dead w/ an umbrella. Your aunts sound great!

Judith Arnold said...

I've drunk a G&T on occasion. They aren't bad if you like tonic and lime. The gin is just there to give it a kick.

Barbara Wallace said...

I've got to confess- I have bad memories of gin so I don't drink them myself. Although I am a fan of the preppy Madras cocktail. (Totally going 80s there.)

Thanks for having me Penny! It was terrific seeing you. See you in 2 weeks Casey!

Heidenkind said...

Mmm, I LOVE gin. I've heard Plymouth gin is the way to go, but I just buy cheap Seagram's.

Penny Watson said...

Hi Judith! Someday we will have to meet in person for The Martini Club...with Barb and other NEC members for a cocktail-tasting. ;^)

Penny Watson said...

Hi Tasha! I know you like G&Ts.....and I'm sure it's only for medicinal purposes.