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7 of the best craft gin and tonic pairings for the holiday season

The experts have weighed in.

Nolet's Silver Gin ($39.49) and Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water 4-Pack ($6.99). 

Nolet's Silver Gin ($39.49) and Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water 4-Pack ($6.99)

Minibar and Drizzly

A gin and tonic isn’t just a summer drink: Its refreshing effects last the whole year around. It also happens to be an exceptionally easy drink if you have a house full of people, whether you have a station set up with a couple options for gin and tonics, you make a pitcher with a twist, or you’re just sitting around in your sweats watching Netflix with some friends.

But not all gin and tonic pairings are created equal. “If a tonic is too sugary, it masks the taste of the gin,” says Padraic Coll, head of North American operations for Clonakilty Distillery. And bars don’t get it right all the time either, especially if it’s a well situation: “Tonic from a dispenser will mean no taste of gin remains,” he adds. 

The taste of the gin is important: A craft gin with some botanical nuance paired with a crisp, not-super-sticky-sweet gin will take a two-step drink to new levels. Quick tip: Most pros recommend Fever-Tree, so if you’re ever not sure what exactly to do, it’s really hard to go wrong with a four-pack of the tonic company’s bottles. 

We’ve talked to some experts to find out their favorite G&T pairings — read on to find out what to pair with West Coast gins, Scottish gins, Irish gins, dry London gins and more. 

G&Ts with a salty air 

Minke Irish Gin - $44.13

Minke Irish Gin
Minke
thewhiskyexchange.com

Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water - $6.99 for four

Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water, Pack of 4
Fever-Tree
drizly.com
$6.99

Produced in West Cork, Ireland, Clonakilty’s gins are as fun to drink as they are to say. It’s right on the coast, so the gin carries a lot of maritime characteristics from the salty air and great water nearby. “Fever-Tree is a nice balanced tonic which accentuates the gin,” says Coll. “Fill a glass with 4 large ice cubes, then pour 1/3 Minke Irish Gin and ⅔ Fever-Tree tonic to the glass,” he suggests. Top it off with two slices of lemon or lime, plus a mint leaf for a splash of green.” 

A refreshing, rose-y G&T

Nolet’s Silver Gin - $39.49

NOLET'S Silver Gin
NOLET'S
minibardelivery.com
$18.99

Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic - $5.99 for four

Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic 4-pack
Fever Tree
totalwine.com
$5.99

While we’re used to citrus and juniper notes in our gins, Nolet, which comes to us from the Netherlands, throws us a curveball — in a good way — with rose botanicals and hints of peach and raspberry. Pair it with Fever-Tree’s Mediterranean Tonic to create a “refreshing twist on the classic gin and tonic,” says Carl Nolet Jr., CEO and president of Nolet Spirits USA. This combo means that the “wonderful fruit and floral forward notes of NOLET’S Silver” get to hit it off with the tonic’s “nuanced flavors of rosemary and lemon, which creates an elevated and exquisite Gin & Tonic.”

A stormy Irish gin-tonic 

Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin - $32.49

Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin 750ml
Gunpowder
totalwine.com
$35.99

Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic - $5.99 for four 

Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic 4-pack
Fever Tree
totalwine.com
$5.99

Made in County Leitrim, Ireland, Drumshanbo’s flavor profile is great for brightening up go-to gin drinks, including gin-tonics — and choosing the right tonic for this citrus-y gin is key to bringing out the nuance of it, says bartender Diana Novak. Her ideal Drumshanbo gin and tonic is 1.5 ounces of the Drumshanbo gin, 3 ounces of Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic, and a slice of grapefruit.  

Novak says she is “a huge fan of the accompaniment of the aromatic tonic to the gin” since it balances out the spirit with a fresh, earthy tone — plus it brings out the fresh grapefruit and ginger you can pick up on in the tonic 

A proper British G&T

Darnley's Original London Dry Gin - $34.55

Darnley's Original Gin
Darnley's
thewhiskyexchange.com
$29.95


Fever-Tree Tonic Water Glass Bottles, Elderflower - $39.53 for 24

Fever-Tree Tonic Water Glass Bottles, Elderflower, Pack of 24
Fever-Tree
Alpha XR
$39.53

Despite being a London dry gin, Darnley’s hails from Edinburgh, Scotland — which also has a history of making some fine gins. (The label makes it pretty enough to gift, too.) 

Brits love their elderflower flavorings, and a tonic with a bit of the floral hint is perfect with Darnley’s gin. Diana Novak, national director of Craft Spirits Education at Palm Bay International, suggests Fever Tree’s elderflower tonic. For her, the tonic’s flavor profile is the “perfect complement” for the gin since it balances out the gin and lets its structure shine — including the great bouquet of lemon and elderflower you’ll also catch from the gin itself. 

“The elderflower tonic brings about an even softer enjoyment of the gin, accentuating the elegance of the floral finish while also highlighting the flavor of lemon peel that hits mid-palate,” she says. She also raises a good point about Fever-Tree: The use of natural botanicals (versus synthetic flavorings, like in the cheap bodega bottle we’ve all purchased a time or two) also lets the natural flavors in the gin shine. 

A G&T with a garnish twist 

Caorunn Gin - $27.99

Caorunn Gin
Caorunn
totalwine.com
$42.99

Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water - $6.99 for four

Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water, Pack of 4
Fever-Tree
drizly.com
$6.99

Another pick hailing from Scotland (they don’t just do whisky!), "Caorunn is slightly spicy, full-bodied and invigorating in flavor, with a clean and crisp finish,” says Simon Buley, Caorunn Gin Master. “Because of this, it's extremely versatile, so it works well with any premium tonic. One of our favorite ways to enjoy Caorunn is with Fever-Tree Tonic paired with a slice of red apple over ice for a perfect serve."

A cocktail writer’s favorite 

Aviation Gin - $29.99

Aviation Gin, 750 ml
Aviation
drizly.com

Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water - $6.99 for four

Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water, Pack of 4
Fever-Tree
drizly.com
$6.99

Of all the gins and all the tonics she’s tried, cocktail writer Yolanda Evans keeps coming back to Aviation Gin with a splash of Fever-Tree’s Premium Indian Tonic. “Fever-Tree, with its all-natural ingredients, adds a little pop to the drink,” she says. “Unlike the other tonics, it doesn’t distract, but rather adds to the flavor. You don’t even need simple syrup — just mix the gin, tonic, and a little lime and you have a simple yet refreshing drink.” 

A West Coast gin pairing 

Gray Whale Gin - $36.99

Gray Whale Gin
Gray Whale
drizly.com
$36.99

Fever-Tree Refreshingly Light Indian Tonic Water - $6.59 for four 

Fever-Tree Refreshingly Light Indian Tonic Water - Pack of 4
Fever-Tree
drizly.com
$6.59

California is known for its incredible whale-spotting and Gray Whale Gin is inspired by the Pacific Gray whales. It’s made from six botanicals that are sustainably sourced along the whales’ migration route, which runs 12,000 miles up the California coastline — and it gives back to ocean conservation through its partnership with Oceanca. 

For an ideal tonic pairing, try the light Fever Tree, says Marsh Mokhtari, Gray Whale Gin distiller and co-founder.  “The Fever Tree Refreshingly Light works wonderfully well with our botanical profile because the low sugar content really allows our botanicals to shine without masking the flavors. We recommend garnishing with a squeeze of lime and a slapped mint bouquet.”