The Classic G&T Garnish: When Life Gives You Lemons..
‘The simple pleasures in life are the best’ said somebody at some point. It may even have been the same person who told us to make lemonade with life’s superfluous lemons. If so, we reckon they missed a trick – combine the two sentiments and add gin. There are few things in life more pleasant than a gin and tonic garnished with a simple slice of lemon.
At Never Never we make no secret of the fact that, as much as we get on board with the more avant-garde side of drinks mixing, we love a timeless classic.
A good G&T is more than the sum of its parts, but don’t just take our word for it – its molecular. Molecules in gin and tonic water are naturally attracted to each other; they form ‘aggregates’, new molecules which taste completely different from their constituent parts. What the gin brings to the table here is the flavour compounds from its botanicals. These will obviously vary between gins (which is also why some gins play particularly nicely with certain tonics), but every single one contains juniper. And juniper contains the flavour compounds A-Pinene and Limonene, which give that signature pine-and-citrus note we just can’t get enough of.
Interestingly, juniper and other classic gin botanicals such as angelica root contain enough limonene that some gins can taste like citrus without containing any citrus fruit at all! At Never Never though, we like to really highlight that zesty goodness with the addition of lemon peel in our distillation process.
But anyway, back to your G&T. Lemons contain a little more sugar and a little less acid than limes which basically means that while they still provide that mouth-watering tartness, they do so in a gentler way. It is a flavour enhancer; it doesn’t need to be the star of the show. That works for us – call us biased but we rather like highlighting the juniper!
Plus, the lime is often held up as the ‘original’ G&T garnish, adding protection from scurvy to the anti-malarial effects of tonic, but lemons (and oranges) were in fact the fruits used by Dr James Lind in his experiment which proved the benefits of citrus in fighting the disease. So, the navy initially used lemon juice for scurvy prevention before switching it out for cheaper lime rations.
The gin-fuelled garnish debate shows no sign of waning, but what we do know is that our juniper and citrus forward gins love a lemon wedge. And so do we.