Did you know the classic Gin and Tonic originates in India? Serve this modern cocktail at your next mixer that combines a classic Indian flavor with a classic Indian drink. Since licorice root can be hard to find, I make this simple recipe from licorice herbal tea.
The classic G&T is an example of Anglo-Indian cuisine. British colonialists used this drink in an attempt to ward of malaria. True tonic water is flavored with quanine, which gives it that bitter taste.
Quanine actually can be effective at preventing malaria, although it is unlikely these drinks ever prevented anything at these doses. Worth noting, gin was also considered a type of medicine at the time, due to the inclusion fo various herbs.
The other ingredient in this drink is licorice. Licorice, is not native to India, but it is not from very far away, North Africa, the Middle East and western parts of China. Licorice, or jethi madh, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 2,000 years.”
Whenever I think of licorice, I think of my grandma. She used to use it in her paan, she preferred it in place of gulkand [[[[link]]]]. My grandma chewed paan everyday and when I was kid, whenever she prepared her paan, she would let my brother and me have a little bit of her licorice powder. We loved its natural sweet flavor, it was like candy.
Because plants are fascinating, I just want to mention, licorice comes from the root of the licorice plant, Glycyrrhiza glabra, which is a member of the legume family, like beans and lentils.
Making the Drink
The first step is steep the gin in licorice to get the licorice flavor. I use licorice tea because it can be very hard to find licorice powder in the US. Allow to steep in the room temperature gin for 5-10 minutes.
Next, remove the tea bag. Add ice cubes and tonic water.
Tonic water gives gin and tonic its characteristic bitter taste. If you don’t like tonic, use club soda.
Next, a squeeze of citrus. I used tangerine. Here you can easily substitute lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit, whatever you like.
Then garnish with a slice of tangerine and a sprig of mint to complete the look.
Licorice Gin and Tonic | Liquorice G&T
- 2 oz gin
- 1 licorice teabag
- 4 oz tonic
- Squeeze of tangerine
- Slice of tangerine optional
- Sprig of mint optional
- Steep the tea in the gin for 5 to 10 minutes, until the gin takes on the color of the tea. Remove the tea bag and squeeze the liquid out into your cup.
- Add a squeeze of tangerine.
- Fill your glass with ice cubes.
- Add tonic water. Garnish with a tangerine slice and a sprig of mint.