The Rise of Specialty Gin and Tonics

Classic Gin and Tonic

In recent years, the classic cocktail trend of the gin and tonic has been on the rise.  It is a simple drink that can be made at home or consistently made at any bar around the world.  Not only are bartenders embracing these trends but they are also responding by offering gin and tonic menus.  

These menus are laced with specialty and house made tonics and a wide variety of gins.  This allows guest to customize their gin and tonics by mixing and matching the gin and tonics based on their preferences, as well as bartender-made specialty gin and tonic cocktails.

The Winslow, NYC

This East Village bar and eatery is inspired by British public houses.  This bar offers guests the opportunity to customize their gin and tonic cocktail based on their flavor preferences.  They showcase four specialty tonics including Q-Tonic, Fentimans, Fevertree, and a house made tonic. Guests can choose one of the above tonics to pair with their choice of nine different gins from around the world.  These nine gins have tasting notes that help guests decide what flavor profile they would like to drink.  

Some of these include:

  • Spring 44 Gin: Mid palate of cinnamon with a finish of lavender from Colorado

  • Brooklyn Gin: A citrus heavy, elegant gin with notes of mellow juniper and rosemary

  • Bull Dog Gin: Coriander, juniper with subtle citrus make this British gin unique

Oceana, NYC

This New York City restaurant and bar has developed a “Just Gin” program, which features 46 different gin varieties.  This gin program is unique because it showcases gin's history, versatility, and various ways to enjoy the spirit, making it more accessible to guests. The restaurant also offers guest the ability to design their own gin and tonics with house made tonics including bitter, sweet, spicy, and citrus options.

The Bar at Brasserie S&P at the Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco  

Brasserie S&P's Gin  and Tonic Tasting Flight | Facebook

Brasserie S&P's Gin  and Tonic Tasting Flight | Facebook

This San Francisco hotel bar cocktail menu is highly focused on gin.  They currently have over 35 gins and a creative “Project Gin and Tonic Menu”.  They feature Sensei tonics in a wide variety of fun flavors including saffron, mandarin and rosemary, and cucumber and mint.  

These tonics elevate the classic gin and tonic cocktail with unique combinations.  The bar also offers a Gin and Tonic Tasting Flight which incudes three different gins and tonics for guests to try.  

Other offerings include:

  • Aged Gin and Tonic: Rusty Blade Gin, Sensei saffron tonic, and a burnt orange twist

  • Spring Hike on Mt. Tam: St. George Terroir Gin, Sensei mandarin and rosemary tonic

  • Hendricks Gin and Sensei cucumber and mint: Cucumber and lime

The Gin Joint, Washington DC

The Gin Joint is the perfect spot for the gin and tonic lover. The best part about this bar is the house made tonics that are made with tasty and creative combinations.  

They offer several house made tonics including:

  • Spiced Citrus Mint

  • Cranberry Jalapeno

  • Blood Orange-Saffron

  • Ginger-Cumin

  • Lemongrass-Grapefruit

  • Hibiscus Huckleberry

  • New Heights Tonic

They also have four bottled tonics and over 65 gins from all over the world to pair with their creative and tasty tonics.  

Some of these include:

  • Aviation Gin: Lavender, cardamom, and sarsaparilla from Oregon

  • Sipsmith Gin: Classic dry, lemon, and grapefruit from the UK

  • G-Vine Gin: Lavender and grape flowers from France

  • Nolet’s Silver Gin: Turkish rose, peach, and raspberry from the Netherlands.   

Gin and tonics have started trending because more guests are trying gin.  This increased exposure to the spirit has caused bars to develop gin programs including adding specialty and house made tonics and bigger gin selections.

Have you tried a specialty gin and tonic?