My Recipe for the Perfect Gin and Tonic

by | May 18, 2017 | Canada, Toronto | 8 comments

This is the story of my gin caper

It all started when I heard about a Canada-wide recall of Bombay Sapphire Gin. This is my preferred brand of gin. I like the colour of the bottle.

The recall of Bombay Sapphire Gin was initiated by Bombay Sapphire’s parent company, Bacardi. The gin was recalled because a batch is accidentally too boozy. The affected batch is 77% alcohol instead of the standard 40%, as stated on the label.

The recall was triggered by a complaint from a consumer. (I am not the consumer who complained about my gin being too strong.)

The recall was issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Food Recall Warning – Bombay Sapphire brand London Dry Gin may be unsafe due to high alcohol content

The first surprise for me is that gin qualifies as a food. I can’t find gin anywhere on Canada’s Food Guide.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency provided the following instructions:

What you should do

Check to see if you have recalled product in your home

Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased


Well, I can tell you right now that I had no intention of throwing any gin down the drain.


Would you throw out too boozy gin?

For me, gin is a summer drink. Nothing says summer like a zesty, refreshing G&T. I’ve tried it in February, but it is just not the same feeling. I keep my gin in the freezer. It languishes in the freezer all winter, just waitin’ on a sunny day.

Well, I checked my stash in the freezer and sure enough, it was the size that was under recall, the 1.14 L size, sold only in Canada. Had I been drinking 77% drinks all last summer? I have a heavy hand when I pour a drink as it is … sometimes guests add an extra splash of tonic.

What to do with my gin? I certainly wasn’t going to go with Option A: pour it out. I decided to initiate Option B: return it for a new bottle.

Here was my conundrum: the bottle was 3/4 empty. Could I return a quarter of a bottle of gin and exchange it for a new, full bottle? Was Bacardi going to make my summer with this recall? There was only one way to find out. I dropped by the local LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario, a retail monopoly on the sale of alcohol in the province). Yes, they would take back my quarter bottle of gin and exchange it for a new bottle!


If you knew that you were going to return a bottle of gin and you knew that the LCBO was going to throw it out … would you mix one final drink from the bottle?

Of course I mixed a final drink from my too boozy gin!

After all, G&T is a medicinal drink! It was created by the British army to fight malaria in tropical regions. A Scottish doctor discovered that quinine could treat and prevent malaria. Quinine is found in the bark of the cinchona tree, a small tropical evergreen tree. But quinine is bitter so British officers in India mixed a concoction of water, sugar, lime, quinine and gin in order to make the quinine more palatable. The G&T was born!

I am very particular about how I mix my perfect G&T

First, I assemble all my ingredients, as shown in the photo. I added dill in the photo for colour, but I actually use fresh basil.

My preferred brand of tonic water is Fever Tree


Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water launched in the UK in early 2005, the brand name chosen due to fever tree being the colloquial name for the cinchona tree in which quinine, a key ingredient for tonic, is found. The highest quality quinine was sourced from the Rwanda Congo border and blended with spring water and eight botanical flavours, including rare ingredients such as marigold extracts and a bitter orange from Tanzania. Crucially, no artificial sweeteners, preservatives or flavourings were added.



Recipe for the Perfect G&T:


  • A cold glass
  • Fresh ice cubes
  • 2 ounces of icy cold gin
  • Cold Fever Tree tonic to taste
  • Fresh lime
  • Fresh cucumber
  • Fresh basil


First, I add fresh ice cubes to a cold glass.

Then I take my gin from the freezer and pour a generous portion over the ice.

Next, I throw in a fresh lime slice.

Then I add a splash of tonic water.

To finish the drink, I carefully float a thin layer of gin over the top of the tonic water.

I rub lime zest around the rim of the glass.

I use fresh cucumbers as stir sticks.

In the summer, I add fresh basil from my herb garden.

The perfect G&T starts with a bottle of free gin, complements of Bacardi.

My niece came to visit me when she found out that she was about to be deployed for two months with the military. We cracked the new bottle of gin and mixed the perfect cocktail. It seemed fitting that we toast her trip with a drink that was created by the military.

The perfect G&T is more perfect when you make two drinks and share with a friend!



Rose Ann MacGillivray

Rose Ann MacGillivray

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Rose Ann MacGillivray