It seems like every spring the interwebs heat up with talk of summer cocktail recipes that get us all excited for relaxed schedules, leisurely dinners with friends and a nice drink after a long day working in the yard. Like everyone else, I feel incredibly motivated when I see these photos and start making a list of the ingredients I'll need to whip up a batch, supplies that range from the common (rosemary) to the obscure and tedious (homemade bitters and hibiscus simple syrup. Right, got it). Eventually we'll have a late spring day hot enough that I feel I've earned a cocktail while I'm prepping dinner and I'll remember my plans for an ambitious summer drink. Initially I'll feel deflated that I slacked on my drink cart goals but then, I'll think of my own personal go-to drink regardless of season and feel instantly reassured. Hello there, tequila and tonic!
If you're any kind of adult who fancies a drink, you likely have one (or three) hard alcohols that are a deal breaker. Gin is mine. The minute someone tries to offer it, my hand instantly goes into a stop sign and I quickly say, "no thanks, not a gin drinker." I blame my aversion to gin and tonics on a particularly trying roommate whose presence all but required a cocktail or two at the end of each day. My love for gin died, as always happens, one ill-fated night when a few friends over quickly turned into a rager of a house party and culminated with a desperate calling in sick to work the next day. Maybe for a couple days. A greyhound is always nice (grapefruit juice and vodka) but I've always love a good margarita. The trouble, for me, is that you never know what you're getting in terms of the mixer and the sugar hangover the next day is often a worse punishment than what the tequila can do. I know it exists but I cannot bring myself to purchase or order anything with the phrase "skinnygirl" in the name. So, years ago, craving a margarita but dubious about the mix, I ordered a reposado tequila with tonic and lime juice. It was perfect. And that's been my drink ever since, whether I'm at home or out. Another thing I like about this drink is that it's not a pain in the ass to order or make. Bartenders and servers often give a look but they quickly realize the allure of getting the flavor of the tequila, the sourness of the margarita by way of the lime juice and the tonic marries the two, also managing to stand in for the salt with a hint of sweetness.
You can play around with which tequila suits your tastes best. I'm solidly a reposado fan but you can learn more with this quick guide to tequilas.
Tequila and Tonic
- 1oz - 2oz per serving, tequila your choice (don't let the celebrity stigma deter you, Casamigos is really excellent, widely distributed and versatile)
- Bottle of best quality tonic water, 6oz - 8oz per serving (I recommend Fever-Tree, Q)
- Bottle of best quality lime juice (convenience)
- Fresh, ripe limes, cut into segments
Fill each glass with ice, preferably crushed ice or smaller cubes. Add tequila, fill 3/4 of the glass with tonic, add a heavy splash of lime (depending on taste) and finish with a couple segments of lime squeezed in then added to the glass.
This is a not-really-a-recipe recipe, I know, but people are often particular with their drinks so play around with the ratios!