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Gin Tasting 4: Gin Tasting Gin and Tonic

After doing three gin tasting posts, we decided it was time to mix the gins and find out what we could learn by doing a gin tasting gin and tonic. After all, many times, people drink gin as part of a mixed drink, not necessarily drinking it alone.

Here are the first three posts:

Gin Tasting 1: What Does Gin Taste Like?

Gin Tasting 2: Continuing the Effort

Gin Tasting 3: Gin Tasting Genever

Initial Notes

I should start by telling you that I don’t happen to like gin and tonic. I can’t say that I was particularly looking forward to this effort. However, in the interests of science, I decided to give it a try. By the time we finished this effort, I had a new appreciation for the drink.

We did use a small chunk of lime in each gin and tonic, which probably accounts for most of the floral aroma and flavors we noted.

One more important note: not only were our gin and tonics quite small but we actually did this tasting in two parts. We did this to keep from burning out our palates.

The Gins

From our previous efforts, we used these gins:
1. St. George Botanivore
2. Death’s Door
3. Peninsula
4. Aviation
5. Martin Miller

The Tonic Waters

1. Canada Dry
2. Fentiman’s
Both have quinine, of course. Tne Fentiman’s also happens to have lemongrass oil and lemon oil.

Tasting the Tonic Waters

Both definitely tasted of quinine. The Canada Dry was, as expected, dry. It had a slight citrus aroma and flavor. The Fentiman’s had a citrus and quinine aroma and flavor, as well as a strong herbal flavor. It seemed to taste somewhat sweet.

The Gin and Tonics

Here is where the rubber hit the road. If we ever thought it didn’t matter what gin and/or tonic was used for a gin and tonic, this exercise certainly proved that wrong.

St. George: This made a drier G&T with the Canada Dry. The Fentiman’s was more floral, with a slightly fruity fragrance. Both tonics were quite nice with this gin.

Death’s Door: With both these tonics, this gin’s flavor stood-out. With the Canada Dry, there was a nice flavor of this gin, but with a dryness. With the Fentiman’s, the gin also stood-out but the drink had a fruitier flavor.

Peninsula: This smelled rather floral with the Canada Dry but tasted a bit yeasty. I disliked this G&T and just wouldn’t want to drink it, again. With the Fentiman’s, I could taste the flavors of the gin, itself, and it was fruitier. I liked this combination quite a lot.

Aviation: With the Canada Dry tonic, I just didn’t like it. It had a real “ick” factor, for lack of a better description, but I found that the dry tonic water just didn’t taste right combined with this gin. With the Fentiman’s, it had a strong citrus and quinine aroma with a nice blended flavor, that seemed to highlight the flavors of the gin (in a good way). Also, it had a nice combination of citrus, quinine and lemon grass flavors.

Martin Miller: The aroma with the Canada Dry was of citrus and juniper, with the flavor being citrus and rather sweet. The aroma with the Fentiman’s was citrus and quinine, with the flavors being quinine, lemongrass and a slight floral flavor.


For a gin to just general mix with either tonic, we both thought the St. George was quite nicely paired with both tonics as was the Martin Miller. I preferred the Martin Miller as the overall G&T mixer gin, while my spouse preferred the St. George.

For individual drinks, my favorite G&T was the Death’s Door with the Canada Dry and my second choice being Peninsula with the Fentiman’s. My spouse’s top choice was St. George with the Canada Dry, second choice going to Peninsula and Fentiman’s. This is no surprise because I claimed a fondness for the Death’s Door in the earlier tastings, as my spouse declared for the St. George. It’s not much of a surprise that a favorite gin would make a favorite G&T, when paired with a complementary tonic water.

And it does seem to be the case that a tonic water can bring out the best or worst in a gin, so it is definitely worth consideration, if you’re particular about your G&Ts.

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