Friday, 27 March 2009

Vodka Tonic

This is the ultimate drink.

The gratification that this simple concoction offers is near instantaneous. It is refreshing, gentle enough to drink more than three (unlike Martinis) yet in possession of an allure that belies its simplistic nature.

By definition, vodka is the purest spirit. I often find gin too perfumed, too aromatic. This may be part of its attraction. But not for me.

Usually all that goes into the glass is a squeeze of lime, a squeeze of lemon, plenty of ice, 50ml of vodka and a generous fizz of tonic water.

Like many people, I still remember my first time. Vividly. I was sixteen, wide-eyed and working in Toronto for my cousin’s magazine. We were in the Rivoli Bar, just off Queen St.

‘What can I get you?’ he asked
‘Erm, I don’t know. What are you having?’
‘I’ll get you a vodka tonic,’ he replied knowingly.

Every one takes me back:

The effervescence on the nose. The sweet bitterness of the quinine. The sour citrus hit. And the warming glow of the vodka. They still taste of dwindling innocence and suppressed excitement.

[Caution: Retro 80s style photography alert]

Often necessity is the mother of invention. We were out of lemons and limes but it had been one of those days. A real stinker. The cucumber looked slightly sad but strangely expectant.

And it really worked. Perhaps not quite as refreshing as the sharpness of citric acid but it added something else. Something worth repeating.

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Alicia Foodycat said...

I can see the cucumber working - I have had that as a garnish on a Hendricks gin and tonic. Although I am a Bombay Sapphire girl myself - and yes, it is the layers of aromatics that do it for me!

Donna-FFW said...

OK, with that description I am off to the bar.. Utterly captivating!

Sam said...

I love the retro 80's photo!

Joy said...

I love the 80's photo too - "club tropicana drinks are free..." I must admit that I am definitely more of a gin girl after drinking far too much value vodka, neat, at university. The less said the better. By the way, I was so close to buying some offal last week but was seduced by the smoked haddock at the fishmongers instead. Soon.

Angry Brit said...

I love gin for the very reason you don't- its wonderfully aromatic qualities. However, I don't drink it with tonic because I feel that the tonic water dilutes its delicacy. I do love the taste of tonic water, so I always drink it with vodka and a bracing shot of lime. Although I've never had it with cucumber. :)

Hungry Gal said...

ooh... i have spent one too many nights of my mis-spent youth at the Rivoli. Those were the days.

Just Cook It said...

Foodycat - Yes, I first had it on a Hendrick's as well, that was part of the inspiration for this one.

Donna - Why thank you.

Thanks Sam, I'm not sure I'd be able to recreate it but it seems to work well.

Joy - You see, I had the same problem with budget gin, maybe that's where the issue has arisen. Good vodka, though, is something else entirely. Think I'll be cooking kidneys today, am a little scared.

Angry Brit - Yes, lime works so well with it, we try to keep a couple in the fridge for this very reason

Hungry Gal - You too? Excellent.

Unknown said...

Cucumbers are great for making your own cucumber infused vodka.

Just take a couple of cucumber and cut them in to long pieces (like french fries) and then de-seed them.

Throw them in vodka for a day or two and strain out the cucumbers. Now you have a refreshing, great tasting vodka that's perfect as a gimlet or in tonic.