Liquor In The Tonic: Four Spring Twists on the Traditional Gin and Tonic


The joke goes like this:

Q: How do you make a gin and tonic?

A: …

That’s how easy it is to make a gin and tonic. It is, literally, gin… and tonic water. That’s it. It’s also a wonderful spring drink — it tastes like budding trees, blue skies and finally digging yourself out of what seemed like permanent snow (we see you winter — you were fucking cruel). The particular ease of this drink means it’s a great jumping off point for getting a little bit fancy without leveling up the difficulty.

The Gin Selection: Farmer’s Small Batch Organic Gin


I’m using this particular gin because a) it’s got hints of lemon grass and elderflower that really come through in an almost citrus finish — and you’ll notice that my gin drinks are all citrus-y, kinda spring-y and b) because it’s organic and the company sources its botanicals from farmers who have an eye to sustainability. Plus it was very easily accessible to me at the liquor store down the street from my apartment. That wound up really working out. Farmer’s is delicious and I highly recommend it.

Kitten approved!

Kitten approved!



Bitter Orange Gin And Tonic

This is just one very, very short step up from a gin and tonic.

You will need:

  • gin of your choice
  • tonic water
  • orange bitters (I’m using Fee Brothers).
  • tonic ice cubes. As they melt, they don’t water down your drink. They just add more tonic. To make, just pour tonic water into your ice cube tray. It’s that easy.
  • a jigger
  • a glass of your choice. I’m using a jam jar because spring.
  • an orange


Gin and tonic is something you build in glass. Start by putting 2-3 tonic cubes in your jam jar.


Add 1.5 oz of gin and two dashes of orange bitters. Give it a nice stir with a fun tall bar spoon. Try your best not to clank the hell out of the ice and spoon, but with jam jars it’s a little tough—many jam jars have ridged sides and sound TERRIBLE when you stir. But since they look so cute, that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

Top it off with tonic water. Now notice that I’m using fairly short jam jars (Bonne Maman, if you’re curious). If you’re using tall jam jars, just know that I’m using 4.5 oz of tonic water. Yes, I calculated. That’s exactly how many ounces I use when I say “top with tonic water.”


Garnish with an orange twist. Celebrate the fact that you are not digging your car out of your driveway.

So happy to see you!

So happy to see you!

Saint Germain Gin And Tonic

This is one level of difficulty over the Bitter Orange Gin and Tonic — this time we’re adding (you guessed it) Saint Germain. The cool part is that Farmer’s gin has elderflower notes and Saint Germain is an elderflower liqueur, so they really do complement each other.

You will need:

  • gin (preferably one with hints of elderflower).
  • Saint Germain (this comes in an abnormally tall bottle, just thought you’d want to know that for storage purposes).
  • tonic water
  • tonic ice cubes
  • a jigger
  • a glass of your choice (again, jam jar, Spring, etc)
  • a lime


Start by putting 2 to 3 tonic ice cubes in your glass (jam jar, ahem). Add 1.5 oz gin, followed by 1 oz Saint Germain.

Give it a nice stir and top with tonic water (4.5 oz if you’re counting, but follow your heart).


Slice a lime and garnish it with a nice lime slice. I like to dump it right in the glass instead of perching it on the top because something about that says “I’m so damn laid back, I just don’t even give a f*ck.”


Always be fighting a kitten for control of your kitchen. You can really taste the difference.



Berry Mint Gin and Tonic

You will need:

  • gin
  • raspberries
  • blackberries
  • a sprig of mint
  • tonic water
  • tonic ice cubes
  • a shaker of your choice
  • a Hawthorne strainer
  • a jigger
  • glass of your choice (jar, Spring, lalalalala)
  • a muddler


This one’s a shaken drink! Put ten or so raspberries/blackberries (mix it up, follow your heart) and a couple mint leaves (all torn up to release all the flavor) in the bottom of your shaker and muddle the crap out of them until the juices are released.


It’ll kinda look like jam. Then fill the shaker half with ice.


Add the 1.5 oz of gin and shake.


Use your Hawthorne strainer (I cannot recommend the OXO kind enough, it has this little rubber bit that keeps it from flying out of my hands) and pour over a finer strainer into your jam jar — that’ll keep the big pieces out. Top with tonic water (again, about 4.5 oz).


Grab a few whole berries (the very prettiest ones) and plop them right into your drink as garnish.


Float a mint leaf atop the whole creation.



Fizzing Whizzbee

The drink that is also a parody. This is way past the gin and tonic — it’s, like, a real cocktail of my own invention, something that rose out of a desire for a new brunch drink that I wasn’t bored of.

You will need:

  • gin
  • sweet vermouth
  • orange juice (preferably fresh squeezed, it’s always better)
  • tonic water
  • tonic ice cubes
  • a shaker
  • Hawthorne strainer
  • jigger
  • NOT A JAM JAR THIS TIME. I’m using a highball glass.
  • an orange to use for garnish


Squeeze up your orange juice—usually one orange provides me enough for two drinks. Always cut your citrus length-wise—you’ll get more juice out of it.


Fill your shaker half with ice (it can be normal ice cubes for this part). Dump in 1.5 oz gin, 1.5 oz sweet vermouth and 1.5 oz of orange juice. Shake it up!


Fill your highball glass with tonic ice cubes and strain your drink into the glass. This time, when you top with tonic water you’ll notice it’s a bit more than the last few. That’s because there’s a full three ounces of liquor in this drink—it could stand to have a bit more tonic water in it. The exact measurement is (5 oz,but once again, I suggest you follow your heart where it leads you re: tonic water).

Garnish with an orange half moon.

And if you want other Harry Potter parody cocktails to accompany your Fizzing Whizzbee, check these out.

What are y’all drinking this spring? What are your gin and tonic twists and turns? What gin do y’all use? I just have so many questions, you guys.

In a semi-regular segment entitled Liquor In The ______, I’m going to write to you about all the different ways you can liquor. I recognize that it’s weird, especially for those of you who have actually had a drink with me, because I am what the frat boys would call a “two-beer queer” (what I would call a “no-beer queer,” as I’m gay all the live long day). But I get drunk very easily, is the point. Still, I really really like beer, wine and liquor and want to share that love for the artistry of alcohol with you all, my favorite queers. Let’s lift a pint to alcohol and our Autostraddle community – they go together like wine and soft cheese.

Header by Rory Midhani

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A.E. Osworth

A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 542 articles for us.


  1. This is awesome, the kitty is awesome, I love the graduating levels of difficulty. So what I needed on one of the first days to feel like spring! Thanks!

  2. The best gin-based drink I’ve ever had is a lemon lavender gin fizz, which is comprised of gin, lemon juice, lavender simple syrup, and some seltzer for the fizz.

  3. My gin and tonic twist, is a Tom Collins. Still uses tonic water and gin, but then adds a hint of sugar, and lemon juice.

    • Fun personal fact: I cannot drink or mix a Tom Collins without singing Rent. No one can take me anywhere, ever.

  4. imma need that gin it sounds absolutely delicious. and all these cocktails sound delicious. AND i have st. germain which makes everything delicious. #delicious #blessed

  5. I have two favorite gin drinks both of which are perfect for the spring and are from the prohibition era.

    Bee’s Knees

    2 oz Gin (Hendricks is my fave)
    3/4 Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
    3/4 oz Lavender Infused Honey Simple Syrup (homemade)
    Shake together then pour over ice
    Garnish with a lemon twist and I often ignite the lemon oils of the twist first over the drink for a nice final kick


    2 oz Gin
    1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
    1/2 oz Simple Syrup
    4 or 5 Mint Leaves
    Muddle mint in a cold shaker then add above ingredients
    Pour over crushed ice and garnish with a lime slice and some mint leaves

    Both are delicious and can be manipulated in any way you like.

      • Right?! It’s one of my best go twos. I even use some of my lemons to make a lemon infused gin to knock it up!!

      • Right?! It’s one of my best go-to drinks. I even use some of my lemons to make a lemon infused gin to knock it up!!

    • The bar I used to work at did a great bee’s knees variant with chamomile honey syrup – just brew some really strong chamomile tea, mix it half and half with honey, and then use a 3:2:1 ratio with gin:honey:lemon (and lavender bitters, if memory serves). *Fantastic* for spring, but actually really enjoyable year-round :)

      • That sounds fantastic if I could have the chamomile. Shame.

        This is now making me want to go and experiment some more with infused simple syrups. I bet a rosemary one would be awesome with this.

  6. This made me salivate SO MUCH. Also I love that the last one was called a Fizzing Whizzbee. Warm fuzzies!

  7. Is it alright to make GTs with seltzer water instead of tonic? I’m not a fan of how sweet tonic is and I really enjoy things that bring out the juniper in the gin.

  8. Gin and tonic is my drink, it’s delicious, hard to mess up, and so refreshing. My favorite twists are to lightly crush cucumber and rosemary in the glass or blueberries and basil. So good.

  9. St. Germain is delicious but way too rich for my budget. Elderflower syrup from IKEA, on the other hand, imparts the same floral flavor on the cheap. I highly recommend it.

    • St. Elder is another elderflower liqueur that costs considerably less, and is nicer than Ikea syrup. Usually runs around $17US for a bottle!

  10. Ali! I love gin oh so much. However, I don’t have any love for tonic. Do you think these amazing recipes would be just as good with soda water? or would you suggest another mixer?

  11. My family drinks gin like some families may drink wine, but I’ve never considered it a spring drink. To me it tastes like Christmas. That said, I drink it year round. I’ll have to try the berry mint g&t.

  12. i’m a whiskey drinker myself (and tequila.. and vodka…) but have recently found myself enjoying gin drinks as well. love the photos that you used – that kitty is cuuute, i’m excited to try a few new recipes for this spring!!

  13. I love tonic and I could drink it with anything and alone. My fave gins are Tanqueray and Bombay Sapphire. Thanks for the nice spring versions of the classic to try Ali :)
    We should have a gin and tonic tasting party.

  14. This inspired me to make plans with my friend to make some of these delicious drinks and watch the new season of The Bletchley Circle tomorrow afternoon. Hello tea time!

  15. I only drink alcohol when it is presented to me by attractive queers, so while I know a Norman Invasion to be a delicious gin and tonic drink that also involves frozen blueberries the only instructions I have for making it go like this: 1) Find a hot gay lady 2) Hang around for a while.

  16. I love these variations on the g and t. Since you are using really nice gin, you may want to splurge on some equally nice tonic without the evil high fructose corn syrup. My favorite is Q tonic, not just because of the name. I actually drink it alone over ice on a really hot day. Fever Tree is another good one and the house brand at Whole Foods is another choice, but not my personal favorite. Can’t wait to give these a try.

  17. This is perfectly timed after a stressful week, and… I have orange bitters that I’ve been too confused by to do anything with yet! Thanks!

    Almost exactly at this time last year I created this new cocktail and may make this my second cocktail of the evening with which to watch the sunset from my balcony. Yay!

  18. Gin and ‘Gina (pronounced j-eye-nuh)

    gin and Orangina

    Once my friend found some Blood Orangina……

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