Gin and Tonic

Gin and tonic garnished with fresh lime

The Spruce / Claire Cohen

  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 3 to 4 cups
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
198 Calories
0g Fat
15g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4 cups
Amount per serving
Calories 198
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 13mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 0g
Calcium 23mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Classic and easy, the gin and tonic (or G&T) is light and refreshing. It's a simple mixed drink that requires just the two named ingredients and a hint of lime, all of which are natural flavor companions. This is a great choice for happy hour, dinner, or anytime you simply want an invigorating beverage.

The best gin and tonic is made with a quality gin, especially those with a slight citrus flavor and a great blend of botanicals. Bombay Sapphire and Tanqueray are two brands that will always be G&T favorites. It also stands up to many of the less expensive gins, which is why it's an excellent cocktail to turn to when you want to save a little money

One thing to keep in mind is that your gin and tonic is only as good as both the gin and the tonic. Explore some of the great tonic waters that have sprung up thanks to this drink's resurgence in popularity. Q Drinks and Fever-Tree are two soda brands worth checking out because they were designed specifically for mixed drinks like this.

0:41

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Ingredients

  • Ice cubes
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 4 to 5​ ounces tonic water
  • Garnish:​ lime wedge

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a highball glass filled with ice cubes, pour the gin, then top with tonic.

  3. Gently stir to combine, but not so much so that you lose carbonation.

  4. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Tips

  • A lime wedge is almost always served with the gin and tonic, and it's a fantastic way to add a hint of citrus. Get the most out of it by running the wedge around the rim of the glass, squeeze the juice into the drink, then drop the wedge in.
  • To add even more lime flavor, squeeze in the juice from a second wedge or add a splash of lime cordial before topping it with tonic.
  • There is a fantastic array of gins to choose from today. Your gin and tonic can become an entirely new experience with each gin you pour. For a traditional G&T, a London dry gin like Beefeater or Tanqueray is a good choice. You can also opt for the cucumber of Hendrick's, the florals of Aviation, or the soft sweetness of Hayman's Old Tom Gin.
  • For the best experience, use freshly opened bottles of well-chilled tonic.

Recipe Variations

The gin and tonic may be simple, but it's also a great foundation for experimentation. With a few changes here and there, you can create an entirely new drink.

  • If you are not a fan of gin, there is always the vodka tonic.
  • Whiskey drinkers will enjoy the leprechaun with Irish whiskey.
  • A splash of fruit juice, such as apple, cranberry, or orange, adds a hint of flavor and sweetness to this typically dry drink.
  • Use a lemon wedge in place of or in addition to lime garnish.
  • Another option is to add 1/2 ounce or so of your favorite liqueur or flavored syrup. Amaretto makes a semisweet gin and tonic, or enjoy a garden-fresh strawberry tonic with homemade syrup (it works for other fruits, too). You can even turn to that trusted bottle of grenadine.
  • Muddle raspberries, mango, or other fresh fruits in the glass before building the drink.
  • Infuse extra flavor into the gin or vodka. The autumn spiced tonic recipe uses apple, pear, and cinnamon for vodka, and there are many gin infusions that are an excellent base for tonic as well.

Is Tonic Water Healthy?

Nutritionally, tonic water does not provide much value. Though not as much as other soft drinks, it also typically includes sugar or some other sweetener. The amount varies by brand and will affect the calorie count.

Is It Safe to Drink Tonic Water Every Day?

It is generally harmless for most people to drink tonic water daily in moderation. Quinine is the ingredient in tonic water that is responsible for its semi-bitter and dry taste. The compound is derived from cinchona bark and is a traditional treatment for malaria—"tonic" alludes to its medicinal uses. In high doses (often in medication form), quinine can cause interactions with certain medications, and it is not recommended for people with some medical conditions. Further, quinine toxicity is known as cinchonism and can lead to hearing or vision loss, as well as cardiac distress or seizures. The U.S. FDA limits how much quinine can be present in tonic water to a level that is deemed safe for beverage consumption.

Can I Make Tonic Water at Home?

Many types of soda are fun to make at home. However, tonic water is one that should always be purchased from a reputable manufacturer. Due to the serious side effects of quinine toxicity, it can be harmful to make your own tonic syrup from cinchona bark because it is impossible to control the amount of quinine.

How Strong Is a Gin and Tonic?

The gin and tonic can be as light or as strong as you want to make it. The strength is controlled by the amount of tonic you pour. With the average 5-ounce pour of tonic and an 80-proof gin, the drink weighs in around 10 percent ABV (20 proof). It's a very casual drink, which is why it's a favorite to serve at dinner.

Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Quinine (Oral Route) Description and Brand Names - Mayo Clinic

    https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/quinine-oral-route/description/drg-20065753

  2. Hall HN, Tatham AJ. Recovery from blindness following accidental quinine overdose. Pract Neurol. 2017;17(6):469-471.

  3. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Code Of Federal Regulations Title 21, Volume 3. Part 172, Sec. 175.575 Quinine. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfCFR/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=172.575

  4. English, Camper. Quinine, Tonic Water, Cinchona Bark Safety in Cocktails. CocktailSafe.org