Drink trends usually tend to stay consistent the world round – when one country latches on to an idea like a vodka redbull, or the mojito, everywhere else tends to follow suit. Not so with the drink that has been trending in Spain for the past couple of years –the gin and tonic. Regardless of whether you’re in Spain for a holiday or are looking to find an apartment for rent in Barcelona for a longer lay-over, the popularity of the gin and tonic will surely take a hold of you are some point. All over Spain, and in particular Barcelona with its booming bar and dining culture, the gin and tonic is becoming the drink of choice, beating out other spirits, beers and wines as the drink of choice to enjoy with a tapa after work. The popularity of the drink has prompted entire menus in some bars, and entire bars as well, dedicated to the variety of flavours and aromas that can be enjoyed in a G&T.
Although the gin and tonic is a drink that has been enjoyed the world over since the 1800s, it has not seen the sort of popularity it is enjoying in Spain for a long time. In fact, its prevalence has not been seen since its inception by the British Colonials in India during the industrial era, when the quinine in the tonic water was used as an anti-malarial medicine and the gin was added to make the mixture more palatable. Of course the gin and tonic, or G&T, tastes significantly better in the current day than it did in the 1870s. The amount of bitter quinine in tonic water has been dramatically reduced to a point where one would have to drink two hundered G&Ts to reap the benefit of a single day’s anti-malarial medication. Tonic water in its original recipe tasted something more akin to a bitter, medicinal tonic than the bubbly, sweet and slightly bitter soda we know today, and the plethora of gins that are commercially available today outshine the few paltry brands that were available even fifteen years ago, let alone one hundred and fifty. The increased amount and improved quality of gin brands, as well as the new tonics on the market as well have given bartenders in Span the tools to create flavour experiences from gin and tonics that are unmatched in any other mixed drink.
When one considers that gin is the only spirit that we drink with any sort of regularity that owes it flavour profile more to a recipe of spices than a gamble on distillation and maturation processes, it is no surprise that there are so many brands available that have unique characteristics that separate them from the rest of the market .Gin is predominantly flavoured with juniper berries (which is in fact where the spirit derives its name – from the dutch word for juniper ‘genever’) but each brand also contains a proprietary mixture of other herbs and spices which creates the gins distinct flavour. By experimenting with different gins, tonics and garnishes to help accent or contrast some of these herbal or spice flavours in the mixture, the G&T has the potential for new flavours and aromas that are unparalleled.
In Barcelona, many of the bars have either dedicated G&T menus, or will have a range of gins and tonic waters available for you to create your own mixtures. There are also bars dedicated to the gin and tonic, with the three year old Bobby Gin at the forefront of the trend. Other bars like the Ideal Cocktail Lounge, Dry Martini, Elephant Club and BonaVida all have a great range of gins and tonics to try, and have friendly bartenders who are familiar with the nuances of the drinks to be able to make suggestions and recommendations to suit your palate. If you’re looking to try something new, visit one of these dedicated gin and tonic bars to discover a new flavour experience that has been winning over visitors to Barcelona for the last four years.