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Classic Gin and Tonic Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Mar 18, 2020 • 1 min read

The classic gin and tonic is a cocktail with an easy recipe and medicinal background. Once used as a tonic to ward off malaria, this beloved drink recipe is a common favorite for gin-lovers, offering crisp, refreshing flavor with minimal ingredients. The best gin and tonic cocktail recipe depends on which gin you use, and whether you include fresh lime juice (some say it’s necessary for a great gin and tonic, others disagree).

You can also add other flavors like watermelon, pink grapefruit, hibiscus, and elderflower liqueur to add more fruity or floral notes. However you decide to customize your perfect gin cocktail, the only ingredients you need to have are a good gin and a good tonic—with a balanced ratio of gin to tonic.



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What Is the History of the Gin and Tonic?

While officers in the British East India Company were in control of India, they were exposed to a threat they had never faced before—malaria. Scottish physician George Cleghorn studied the disease, determining that quinine, derived from the bark of the cinchona tree, could be used as an effective treatment for malaria (and is still sometimes used today). Quinine is incredibly bitter, and would be diluted with water and mixed with sugar in order to create a tonic. Since the soldiers were given a gin ration, adding this spirit to the mixture created a cocktail that was not only delicious but could keep them from getting sick.

Tonic water of today does not contain the same amount of quinine, so a gin and tonic cannot be used to treat malaria.

Gin and Tonic Recipe

Gin and Tonic Recipe

Prep Time
3 min
Total Time
3 min


  • 3 ounces gin
  • 4 ounces tonic water
  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice (optional)
  • Garnish with a fresh lime wedge or lime slice
  1. Add ice cubes to a collins or highball glass.
  2. Fill the glass with gin (and lime if you’re including).
  3. Top with tonic water.
  4. Give a quick stir.
  5. Garnish with your slice or wedge of lime.

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