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Observations placeholder

Colonial G&T



Type of Spiritual Experience


I don't know whether it does heal in reality, but this is fun anyway



A description of the experience

Colonial G&T

Gin And Tonic wasn’t always the long and refreshing drink we’ve become so accustomed to drinking today. Originally created by the need to administer quinine doses to the troops, the G&T has over the centuries become Britain’s national drink. Have you ever wondered what it tasted like before carbonation was invented though? What would the “ORIGINAL” Gin and Tonic have tasted like? It’s the kind of question that occupies a lot of our time here at Gin Foundry HQ.

We don’t recommend recreating foul tasting quinine cordials and mixing it with early incarnations of gin distilled with little aplomb. Nor do we recommend drinking it ritually at the office morning meeting like soldiers might have during the raising of the flag… But wouldn’t it be great if it were possible to catch a glimpse of where this now ubiquitous drink emerged from and what it might have tasted like?

We’re not the first to think so. It’s possible to make your own cordial from cinchona bark, filter and create home made quinine syrups, and in fairness, this is as close to recreating an original tasting G&T as possible. Many bartenders have done this, with varying degrees of success too. The problem lies in sourcing all the ingredients and filtering, sieving, carbonating and all the faff that goes after. We’re curious, but short on time here!

Thankfully, the good folks at Martin Miller’s Gin have spent a little time rethinking ways to create a version fit for today’s taste preferences and have created something that is possible for everyone to make at home, should your curiosity get the better of you. Yes – it’s still geeky, but not the sole preserve of the bartender anymore and something that we know you discerning readers enjoy testing out over a long weekend…

We’ve made this drink many times since discovering it. It tastes good. Full stop. What takes it to the next level however, is that it tastes like a Gin and Tonic but it’s flat and served short. It subverts expectations and when served chilled down and in a coupe glass – the inverted G&T, which we’ve called the Colonial Gin and Tonic is a nice summer sipper.

First step – make the tonic reduction.

1l Fever-Tree Tonic

6 Crushed Juniper Berries

6 Black Peppercorns

12 Coriander Seeds

1 Whole Zest of Lemon

Half a Pink Grapefruit Zest

2 Green Cardamom Pods

Add all spices to a pestle and mortar and break up. Add to a pan with the citrus peel and gently press the zests to extract oils. Add tonic water and reduce the liquid by half. Sieve the reduced mixture and leave to cool.

Tonic reduction done! It might seem a bit of a faff, but it is worth it. It’s possible to add in other botanicals to suit personal preferences, however if doing so – subtlety is key. The tonic reduction needs to be balanced by gin, accentuating the inherent flavours and not dominate it. When using really punchy spices, add them in later in the reduction as they infuse rapidly (e.g. Star Anise, Cinnamon).

The drink itself is much easier to make. The measurements for a one person serve are as follows:

60ml Martin Miller’s Gin

30ml Tonic Reduction

10ml Lime Juice

3 Dashes Angostura Bitters

Shake hard and fast and strain into chilled medicine bottle if you are taking it on the road. Alternatively, strain into a chilled coupe if you want to serve it up for High Tea.

Credit to Martin Miller’s Brand Ambassador Aidan Bowie for the recipe – we adapted it slightly but it was his recipe that forms the backbone of the drink and his research that brought it all to life.

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps