Cocktail Recipe: Spanish-Style Gin Tonica

Surprising though it may seem, the most popular cocktail in Spain is the Gin and Tonic or “Gin Tonica” as it’s often known.

Taken for granted by many Americans — and many of the British as well — the Spanish have adopted this stolid stand-by as a refreshing, versatile quaff with an endless stream of variations.

Beyond the expected gin, tonic, and lime, the Spanish version contains all matter of fruits, herbs, and other aromatic flourishes. It could lemon peel or grapefruit, but it could also be rosemary, mint, cardamom, Serrano chili, cloves, lavender, kumquat, lemon verbena — you get the picture.

Also of note is the glass the Gin Tonica is usually served in. In this case, the bigger, the better. A large balloon glass (sometimes used for red wine) or copa glass is a great choice, but a pint glass will work in a pinch.

The skill of the bartender is in guiding the guest’s palate towards the right additions for the right gin. But this is where you can play mixologist at home. Almost none of these combinations would taste bad, so you can feel free to experiment without risking doing serious damage to your drink.

So lay in a handful of different ingredients and a gin or three — and maybe even a variety of tonics to explore — and let your imagination and your palate run wild.

Spanish-Style Gin Tonica

Spanish-Style Gin Tonica


  • 2 oz. London Dry Gin (such as Tanqueray)
  • 4 oz. Tonic Water (such as Fever-Tree)
  • Thin slice of Pink Grapefruit
  • Medium Slice (or Wedge) of Lime
  • Sprig of Rosemary
  • Lime Wheel, for garnish


  1. Build in a balloon glass over ice. Add gin, tonic, fruit, herbs, and/or other aromatics, and stir briefly. Garnish as desired.