Suzi's Blog

The Perfect Gin and Tonic: Proportions, Crushed Ice, and a Slice of Lemon

“Bath?” Suzen asked in a tired voice. We’d spent the day gardening and cooking. It was sunset and time for a well earned break.

“Sure,” I said. “What do you want?”

“Gin and tonic.” Her favorite drink. She went off to fill the tub and I went off to fill the glasses. Our routine is well honed. She needs the water hot enough to poach eggs, so she fills the tub, sits in that scalding water and waits for the more delicate me. By the time I arrive, she’s pink and I’m ready to test the waters and taste the drink.

What makes for a perfect G&T? It’s a popular cocktail but a bit mysterious. If you go to many cocktail books, you get a recipe that says something like: “Put in an ounce of gin in a glass and top off with tonic water.” The actual proportions for both gin and tonic are often neglected. How big a glass is an issue. A bigger glass, topped with tonic water, will give you a diluted drink. Of course, you can also fill the glass with ice which just adds another complicating factor.

We’ve experimented and found the right proportions: it gin to tonic in the ratio 1 to 2. Twice the tonic water. Less tonic, and the drink will affect your ear lobes. Gin has a bite that rivals tequila. More tonic, and you’ll find yourself disappointed with a spineless cocktail.

A lime wedge is the standard accompaniment, but we actually prefer lemon. The gin should, of course, be refrigerated. The ice should be crushed. That means you’ll want to serve in small glasses. A large glass takes too long to drink, the ice melts over time, and the beverage becomes diluted. You want that great flavor from first to last sip. Keep the glasses small and the gin chilled.

Source: Suzen and Brian O’Rourke


Pear Royale: A Distinctively Delicious Champagne Cocktail


Brian and I are working our way through Kim Haasarud’s wonderful 101 Champagne Cocktails. We’ve learned that we like recipes with some sophistication: working with multiple ingredients you can introduce layers of flavor that absolutely confuse your tongue. And that confusion is a terrific characteristic for a cocktail. You tell yourself: I like this. And you immediately ask yourself: what is this.

By having multiple flavors, in little amounts, added to champagne you can truly create enchanting beverages. This cocktail, as with some others we have blogged, uses pear to introduce a pure fruit flavor. And some gin to provide a sting to the drink.

From Kim’s book we have also blogged the Oscar 78, another pear-flavored cocktail that is lovely. That recipe requires more effort than this one. This Pear Royale is a great ice breaker for parties. Yet it is easier to prepare. You can scale this recipe up and have a pitcher ready for your guests.

Or just for you.

Pear Royale

Yield: 1 drink


  • Simple syrup for cocktail rim
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar, for cocktail rim
  • ½ ounce pear liqueur
  • ½ ounce gin
  • 4 ounces slight sweet sparkly wine
  • Pear slice for garnish


Wet the rim of a chilled champagne flute with simple syrup and dip into a plate of superfine sugar.

Combine the pear liqueur and gin a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Add the sparkling wine and stir. Strain into the sugar-rimmed flute and garnish with appear slice.

Source: 101 Champagne Cocktails by Kim Haasarud.