The gin and tonic is the stiffest of British drinks, bracing, cool, and astringent. But like a London holiday-goer on a cheap fare to the Costa del Sol, England’s venerable old G&T has sought the warmth of Spain. The Spanish are now the biggest gin drinkers on the planet, per capita, and the gin and tonic (known as the “gin tonic”) has become the new taste of Madrid and Barcelona. As a nod to the summer travel season, we came up with our own Spanish gin tonic. The source of our inspiration: Spain’s Gin Mare, flavored with a whole bunch of Mediterranean aromatics (arbequina olives, rosemary, thyme). But, since we’re lazy, basically, and too cheap to buy a fancy Spanish spirit, we thought we’d approximate, using earthy-tasting Plymouth gin and adding our own aromatic elements to the basic G&T: rosemary, arbequina olives, caperberries, lemon, and a touch of sea salt. The fragrance is pretty explosive, capable of turning a drab San Francisco afternoon into a warm evening in La Barceloneta, with the clinking of ice cubes and a whiff of sea. As we’d say if we were Catalan, or just mildly drunk on a couple of these babies, salut!
Barcelona Gin and Tonic
Makes 1 cocktail
Sprig of rosemary
Pinch of sea salt
2 arbequina or other small, mild, aromatic olives
2 ounces Plymouth gin
4 ounces Indian tonic water such as Fever-Tree, chilled
Step 1: Place a highball or rocks glass in the freezer to chill.
Step 2: Fill the glass two-thirds with ice. Rub the lemon twist around the rim and drop it into the glass; do the same with the rosemary sprig. Add a pinch of salt to the glass, and drop in the caperberry and olives.
Step 3: Add the gin and use a swizzle stick or spoon to stir. Pour over the tonic and serve.
Photos and styling by Chris Rochelle