Gin And Tonic: Does It Really Need Cucumber?

29/04/2016 4:11 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:52 PM AEST
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The Greyhound pub in Bromley, Kent, 31st May 1960. (Photo by Bert Hardy Advertising Archive/Getty Images)

No matter the season, there is no denying the perfect symphony of gin and tonic.

For some time now gin has been the fastest growing spirit in Australia, and for good reason (er, delicious). But when it comes to how to serve it, bartenders are often divided.

Yes, we’re talking about whether to cucumber or not.

“There’s a huge disparity between bartenders and the cucumber garnish. It’s a love-hate relationship. A lot of old school bartenders prefer the traditional lemon or lime wedge, conversely some of the new-age bartenders are really keen on it,” Cameron Hann, general manager at Sydney's West Village told The Huffington Post Australia.

According to Hann it all depends on the gin you’re drinking and the botanicals that are used to flavour the gin.

“Hendrick’s completely changed the game by launching the cucumber signature serve a few years ago. All of a sudden people felt super-sophisticated and found their new vodka lime and soda,” Hann said.

Hendrick’s uses cucumber and rose petal botanicals in their distillation process, which is why the fresh slice of cucumber compliments it so well.

However, Hann revealed if we were to add a slice of cucumber to any gin and tonic -- we’d likely not be able to tell whether it was Hendrick’s or not -- controversial.

gin martini

“Similarly many bartenders serve Beefeater 24 with a wedge of pink grapefruit as an alternative to lemon or lime as it uses pink grapefruit and Seville oranges among 10 other botanicals in the production,” Hann said.

Of course, at the end of the day it all comes down to personal preference.

Other garnishes, like mint, for example have also been known to make their way into the drink.

Jamie Oliver suggests "spanking" (clapping the mint leaves) before dunking them in. Again, personal preference.

But if you’re unsure as to whether cucumber is really your thing, or you've just been adding it for kicks, Hann said getting to know your gin is the easiest way to find out.

“Try a few different gins as martinis first so you can truly appreciate them in all their glory."

"Also, ask your bartender how they recommend serving a particular gin. A good bartender should know the difference,” Hann said.

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