Look Mum! No garnish! – And that is how some think a G&T should be: Plain and simple, just the gin and a tonic. But is that the only way? Clearly not, so lets have a look at what you could use to garnish your G&T and why it might actually make sense to do it.
Okay let's get this one out of the way first. Some people say that garnish is just not what was intended. They say that it might even change the taste from what the distillers intended it to be. That is true. But then again choosing a specific tonic does the very same. And as you might have read in my gin reviews even ice changes the taste already. Gins like the Boodles British Gin even left out the citrus in the assumption that people dump in a wedge of citrus anyway to my knowledge.
Just a zest or wedge of citrus, cucumber or apple
A very typical addition, probably the one you get when ordering ins some place other than a bar. Since many gins rely on citrus in the making and often bring a citrussy flavour as well, this is a natural option. Especially when you have a zest (a long slice of the peel) it looks nice as well. Try to wring out the zest a bit over the glass since this will make the citrus oils spray onto the glass leaving you with a nice aroma at the glasses rim. Fun trick to impress your frinds: Do that over a candle but stay back. It lights up like a fire ball (demo video on Youtube).
Since Hendrick's Gin has become popular I'd guess, a new standard has evolved: Cucumber. I would go as far as saying: Cucumber is the new lemon. Again many more or rather less thoughtful places serve cucumber with every gin. Although it fits quite well and you can create nice decoration with it, not every gin really wants a cucumber as their taste companion.
Apples and pears
Apple slices are an interesting addition as well. They can, depending on the kind of apple take the acidity away or add some and add a bit of natural sweetness as well. And they can look really great. Pears can do the same trick but with a slightly different taste twist obviously.
Rosemary, flowers, and other botanicals as garnish
For the same scent(y) reason adding botanicals or even a sprig of rosemary can be quite nice in a Gin and Tonic. The scent of the botanicals and maybe even the taste it releases when added to the liquid can be a nice addition. Rose petals for instance, or hibiscus blossoms do do that. But whatever you do, please consider that this is still a drink and it is annoying to have to get a straw to enjoy the drink because it is not posiible to drink the G&T without swallowing a load of stuff that was floating in there. Which brings us to …
Fruit salad in my gin
There are serves which are super nice with some fruit. Take the Burgen Distillers Cut for instance: It is great with a few raspberries. Or the Brockmans looks great with berries, and since it tastes like a million berries it makes sense.
But sometimes you see serves where people dump as many things into the drink that it looks more like a fruit salad with gin than anything else. Especially when it gets hard to drink this the fun is over. To be host with you I have seen so many weird, overloaded serves on Instagram which reminded me of the compost heap in my in-laws garden, not of a good serve.
Allowed is what tastes good
However: Of course you can add things to your drink. You are the chef du bar. I've had a G&T with crisp bacon and rosemary, another with thyme and quite recently tried frozen peas with the Seedlip Garden 108 (okay that is not a gin). Just remember that adding botanicals changes flavour, and that your drinks remain drinkable. If you feel like getting inspiration on what one could do to fancy up the next drink you serve have a look at the amazing serves of One drink a day.
If you manage to get some great drinks decorated or found a good combination in taste let me know by email or hit me up on twitter or Instagram. I am curious what you have come up with.
Cheers and Ginsalabim!