The Brits may have invented the Gin&Tonic, but the Spanish have elevated it to an art form. Traditionally taken as an aperitif in London, the Spanish have it with dinner or as a nighttime bar and club drink — and in a large balloon glass, no less.
Used to be that when you ordered a gin tonic, the bartender would just pour you some Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire or Beefeater over some ice and with a splash of generic tonic water. Now, be prepared to answer questions like “What kind of gin would you like?” or “Which tonic water do you prefer?”. You also need to know your ‘botanicals’ — which are the aromatics used in gin distillation. Flavours like juniper, citrus and even flowers and spices from all parts of the world.
We were invited to try just that at The Little Tapas Bar with their selection of 20 gins, 18 botanicals and 3 unique cocktail gin infusions. Together, we were spoilt for choice with a staggering 7000 possible combinations of flavours! My girlfriend Tiffany felt adventurous and went for their house-infused Pandan gin. I went for a subtle but spicy orange, cinnamon and ginger concoction. The Pandan was an interesting choice. It was definitely aromatic, but i thought it lacked dimension compared with my spicy more subtle mix that really let the gin shine through. The blueberry lychee and strawberry mint flavours were also very popular with the ladies, but I was quite averse to my gin tonic tasting like a mojito. I recommend going with the citrus and spice for botanicals so you enhance instead of overpower the gin.
I spoke with the owner of My Little Tapas Bar and My Little Spanish Place, Maria Sevillano, about the gin tonic craze and she says that gin tonic is pretty much the national drink of Spain. It doesn’t just go with Tapas, it’s also perfect for hot summer nights and is a staple for everyone at bars and clubs. Definitely next on my list to try are the French Magellan which has a hint of apple, and the Whitley Neill London Dry Gin,which showcases exotic botanicals such as Cape gooseberry and baobab reminiscent of colonial Africa.
Head Chef Edward Esmeros also tells us that the number one consumer of gin tonic in the world is the Philippines with Spain coming in a close second. It’s no surprise, then, that the Spanish passion for appreciating their gin tonics is spreading like wildfire around the world. Particularly on this Tapas and cocktail-loving tropical island, it looks like gin tonics are here to stay.
MY LITTLE TAPAS BAR
42 Club St, 069420