Look up “Boston College” in a dictionary, and under synonyms, you’ll find Rubinoff, “Rubi,” vodka. Despite its plastic bottle and bitter hangover, Rubi has a rightful place in the hearts of BC students. Those stale, cheap alcohols defined my first two years of college—I’d never ventured past variations of the vodka soda. It wasn’t until March of 2020, at the beginning of quarantine, that I began to explore how fun cocktail making could be. Upon arriving home, I found myself not only with an abundance of time, but with a full house. As my family and I bumped heads over shared workspaces, we also bonded over the forced co-isolation due to strict stay-at-home mandates in Manhattan. We spent evenings crowded around our dining room table, and food and drink became an enriched love language. My mom and I especially bonded over picking out recipes for cocktails and dinner. Once we created the menu, we embarked on our once-a-day outing to first, the grocery store and second, the liquor store.
The first cocktail of this series is a simple one—the classic gin and tonic. This was the first drink my mom and I enjoyed together at the very beginning of lockdown.
For this recipe, I’m making a more unique version, but the best part of this age-old cocktail is that you can use whatever brand of gin and whatever brand of tonic water you want. Since this drink has such simple ingredients, I do recommend splurging on a nicer gin and a nicer tonic. Having good quality of both makes a difference, but at the end of the day, a G&T is a simple and delicious drink that is always a crowd pleaser.
For the gin, if you’re looking for something on the nicer side, ask for Brockmans, Hendrick’s, or Drumshanbo. If you’d like a classic brand that you might have heard of before, check out Bombay Sapphire or Aviation. Some more affordable options include Tanqueray (a personal favorite of mine), Beefeater, and New Amsterdam. For the tonic water, you can’t go wrong with a bottle of Schweppes or Canada Dry. Other options include Fever-Tree tonic water or Q Mixers tonic water, which has my vote.
For this recipe in particular, I used Empress 1908 Gin and Fever-Tree Elderflower tonic water. This is an incredibly fun twist on this classic cocktail—Empress is infused with butterfly pea blossom, which makes the liquor an indigo blue. When you add citrus or tonic, it turns purple or pink—an impressive party trick.
Gin and Tonic
2 oz. gin (your choice)
4 oz. tonic (your choice)
Juice of half a lime
Optional garnish: lime wedge
- Fill a tall glass with ice. Pour in the measured gin, then the measured tonic water.
- Stir, then squeeze in the lime juice.
- Stir again, then garnish with lime wedge.
Featured Graphic by Annie Corrigan / Heights Editor