Buffalo Spirit Guide – Gin & Tonic

Greetings friends and mortals, I am the Buffalo. I have been tasked with guiding you to enlightenment of the world of the classic cocktail. My cohorts and I have been fairly prolific on our thoughts regarding spirits over the past several months, and while we make sure to include mixability as a metric it’s never been the forefront of our reviews. This is odd because while certainly things like taste and cost matter to us our biggest question upon re-purchasing is “how well does it make drink X?”

Take vodka as an example; we wax on about how good a vodka is and certainly there’s nothing wrong enjoying some cold vodka neat or on rocks, but when it comes to what we buy we always ask? “How good of a White Russian does it make?”

So then to start you off I can think of nothing better than my old favorite – The Gin & Tonic.


If asked what the perfect drink is, I’d respond that the G&T wins above all others. It combines the bubbliness you’d ask of champagne, the ability to adjust proportions to anyone, the approachability to even the most weak-willed drinkers, and the perfect combination of juniper, bitter tonic, and citrus making this drink flawless.

I’ve known acolytes of mankind who’ve been adverse to carbonated beverages, averse to bitter sourness, and even adverse to alcohol itself enjoy a well made G&T.

So where did it all begin? Where did this fabulous concoction come from? War.  For you see G&T was invented around 1870 when the British were busy conquering India and the rest of the East. This was met with the disease known as Malaria. But save the Queen tonic water possesses Quinine which fight Malaria like a drunken mongoose. An acquired taste though it needed something else, something to make me forget the countless people I’ve killed. Along comes Gin which after much revolutions and changes in British culture had already established itself as a popular spirit enjoyed by many Britons.

Since Gin was also much drier than it was in previous years (what was called Old Tom Gin) it complemented tonic and citrus beautifully. While nowadays the quinine content is restricted by the evil disease wishing government to small amounts, making it effectively useless at fighting Malaria – the drink lives on as a classic and iconic cocktail.

All this comes together in something dreadfully simple to make, and sadly cock up. There’s no set in stone proportions when it comes to G&T, and is purely up to you – or those making your drinks. Here’s a sample recipe anyway.

  • Rocks or Highball glass – chilled preferably, but not necessary
  • Add a few whole ice cubes to the glass.
  • 50 mL of Gin – London Dry works best here.
  • 100/150 mL of Tonic Water
  • Cut 1-2 Lime wedges from a fresh lime (Make sure to wash outside)
  • Squeeze lime over drink and add into drink or place on the rim.
  • Enjoy.


As I’ve said though despite its simplicity it’s very easy for someone to screw this up. First you can proportion it very wrong, and worst of all use soda water or seltzer. Dreadfully some bars actually make this mistake, or worse what they use isn’t fresh – whether it be the lime/lemon or flat tonic water.

So then how do we take it to the next level? How do we make the classic G&T Buffalo-style? Now as I’ve learned getting out of college when it comes to drinks I have a heavy hand. (You try pouring with hooves.) Most G&T’s are made using a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio of gin to tonic. If you’re stepping up the game then there are just some minute changes to make.

First add more gin, and take note of the gin you’re using. Now we advertise New Amsterdam to the point where they really should start giving us money – and by money I mean free product. If you’re looking for that quintessentially G&T however you will have to go up a tier to get the best. Tanqueray, Hendricks, and Bombay Sapphire are the preferred here. Most bars unless stated will serve Beefeaters or Gordon’s and that’s a damn shame. What gin you get depends on your budget yes, but also remember that different gin’s aren’t equal. Pick to your favorites whether it’s a more Juniper flavor or a more citrus kick. My preferred gin is Tanqueray Rangpur for its ability to let citrus compete evenly with juniper.

Secondly choose the correct choice of tonic. Now there are certainly higher tier brands of tonic water – you’ve probably never seen them for a good reason, nobody is willing to spend that much money on them. I know this is my booze review mindset taking over, but just because your thing is overpriced doesn’t make it better. So then which Tonic water should you choose of the main 3? (Schwepps, Polar, and Canada Dry.)

Personally I’m a Polar guy – Canada Dry tends to run much sweeter than I’d prefer, and Schwepps is usually more expensive (though their 6 pack mini tonic waters is appealing since an opened bottle of any brand doesn’t last more than 3-4 days. I stress this though because some people mix this up, but club soda and seltzer are not the same thing as tonic (though they do look confusing similar in bottle label), the added quinine is essential to the taste of G&T, and you should never settle for less.

Lastly, and this is important – use fresh limes. The added taste of lime compliments a G&T so well that to simply call it a garnish is absurd. Alright then what “recipe” does a Buffalo use then?

  • Rocks Glass – A nice big one.
  • Add 3-4 Ice cubes.
  • Cut two lime wedges and squeeze into glass finally depositing them into glass.
  • Pour a little more than half a glass of gin. (a 1:1 or 3:2 ratio is what we’re looking for here)
  • Add Tonic water leaving about half a finger’s width of space to the rim.
  • Take another lime wedge and stir drink lightly with wedge (don’t be vigorous you don’t want to bruise the gin.)
  • Place lime on rim and go Buffalo.


Simply superb and I truly mean that. The G&T is honestly my favorite drink. I enjoy my scotch, and drink Russians and rum alike – but when I look for a standard, when I can’t think of what to drink I fall on my personal favorite. I know without a doubt if faced with my final meal I wouldn’t order a single malt scotch – I know if it came to it I’d order a Gin and Tonic.




Cheers mates.



I am the Buffalo editor and curator of Honest Booze Reviews

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