G&T: PERFECT CHEMISTRY
Written by Lauren Smith
Ever wondered why a gin and tonic is so glorious? While gin on its own is lovely, and tonic on its own has a few (niche) fans, put them together and they make something quite divine. Quite simply put, the product is greater than the sum of its parts. I’m here to ask: ‘but why though?’
Well, some genius scientists and dietitians (who are far smarter and more qualified than me) have started to understand why. Maybe they’re truly interested, or maybe it’s an excuse to drink at work. Either way, as you may have guessed, I find the subject pretty interesting. Especially as it seems there is no straight forward answer…
There are two trains of thought, and either could be true, or actually more likely, both could be playing into the reasons why a gin and tonic tastes so darn good.
Firstly, let’s look at a molecular level. Just like humans, liquid molecules work on attraction. Molecules that are different (think oil and water) will repel from one another, while molecules that are similar will come together to form an aggregate. It’s these aggregates that create a taste explosion in your mouth, think chocolate and red wine, carrot and coriander and other stranger combinations (which surprisingly work) like salmon and licorice or stilton and rhubarb. Quinine and juniper are another set of aggregate-inducing molecule pairings. They sit together in such a way that the flavour profile changes and creates an elevated taste than that of gin or tonic on its own.
Aside from the science there are other, slightly more comprehendible reasons as to why a G&T just works. The bittersweet-ness of tonic water complements the botanical flavours of gin, creating a well-balanced taste that blankets the palate. The fizziness of the tonic water then provides a refreshing and effervescent sensation, further enhancing the burst of flavour through every sip. All-in-all creating, and I am biased on this one, the best drink around.