Give your G&T a fresh twist - make your own flavoured syrups!

Give your G&T a fresh twist - make your own flavoured syrups!

For many of us a Gin & Tonic is the first drink we ordered or learnt to make at home. But here are some new ideas to jazz up that lackluster G&T!

The history of the G&T can be traced back to the 1800’s when quinine was a way to protect British troops against malaria. Innovative soldiers quickly found that the bitter quinine went down easier when added to gin, which was never out of reach!

Of course modern gins have come a long way – sweetened with juniper berries, coriander, angelica, liquorice, and a range of wonderful additions such as citrus, rooibos, elderflower, rose, litchi and let’s not forget collagen gin from the Kollegin ladies!

Even though we may be faced with winter fast approaching here in South Africa, the G&T remains a refreshing option at barbeques and fireside get-togethers.

So, let’s raise the bar – make your own simple herbal syrups to create exotic gin and tonic cocktails!

Creating your own flavoured syrups at home couldn’t be easier, and they are also perfect to add to iced tea or carbonated water for a refreshing non-alcoholic drink.

Here’s how to make your own simple syrups in only a few minutes:

A basic syrup is simply made up with equal parts sugar and water: one cup sugar and one cup water, or if you want to make a smaller batch, use only 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water.  It really doesn’t matter, just remember the 1:1 ratio. Bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring until sugar is totally dissolved. Turn off the heat, and add your chosen herbs to infuse while the syrup cools.

Experiment!

Try a few sprigs of Basil, Mint, Rosemary, Thyme, Tarragon. Or Vanilla or Cinnamon sticks. And why not consider infusing your syrup with a few slices of jalapeño pepper (or habanero, depending on your courage) for a special kick… whatever takes your fancy! There are no measures, decide how strong you want the flavour and work accordingly.  Once cooled, store in clean glass jars in the refrigerator – these syrups last a couple of weeks.

Put the citrus to good use

That tradition lemon or lime wedge found on the edge of most G&T cocktails is a traditional complement to the drink. However, it is far more than bling – the aromatic oils in the citrus peel are often considered the third ingredient. A squeeze of that lemon or lime into the drink adds an interesting dimension: sour, acidic and tart.

Lime may be the time-honoured choice of citrus, but consider introducing a slice of sweet orange or even grapefruit which adds an interesting flavour to any G&T.

Eat your veggies…

Hendrick’s unusual Scottish Gin, infused with cucumber and rose, put veggies on the proverbial map. So, if you would like to citrus a break altogether, why not consider other options like cucumber.

A few slices of cucumber will give your G&T instant party appeal and certainly be a discussion point.

Moreover, cucumbers will add a gentle vegetal flavor to your otherwise predictable G&T.

Lastly, choose a beautiful, unusual glass to present your G&T! And consider adding a few sprigs of lavender to a simple G&T, as well as some edible flowers or shrubbery from your garden.

Simplicity has never been so elegant!

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