You've Never Had Gin and Tonics Like These Before
By Anthony Todd in Food on Sep 29, 2015 3:25PM
Photo courtesy of Mercat a la Planxa.
For many of us, gin and tonic is a default drink, something we order when we're scared the bartender would screw up something more complicated. For others, it something to sip (or slam) on a hot summer day when the condensation beads up on the glass. But at Mercat a la Planxa, the gin and tonic is the basis for an entirely different kind of gin cocktail that we've never seen before.
"The gin and tonic is all the rage in Spain," explains beverage director Wesley Jackson. " If you go to Spain, you will find little side bars that are carrying 30 kinds of small batch gin and 5 types of tonics." At Mercat, they've got the small batch gins and boutique tonics, but they've stepped it up one more level, creating versions of classic gin cocktails that are specially designed to pair with tonic for a new flavor treat.
Some gin lovers are familiar with the Aviation, a combination of gin, luxardo, creme de violette and lemon juice. At Mercat, they've rebalanced the cocktail and paired it with Fever Tree tonic, which transforms it from a boozy aperitif into a drink you can "sip on all day long," says Jackson.
"If you’ve already got a cocktail that you know works, and you know that gin goes really well with quinine-based tonics, it’s really a natural marriage," explains Jackson. "We offer the cocktails with or without tonic, so folks can try the cocktails as they are, or we can add tonic to it."
They've got eight new gin cocktails on the menu, including an Aviation, a Southside and a Last Word. Six of them are paired with boutique tonics from Fentiman's, Q and Fever Tree. There are also a couple that shouldn't be paired with tonic, like the oak-aged Negroni. But the bar team was occasionally surprised about what worked with tonic and what didn't. Jackson was particularly startled by the Corpse Reviver. "I thought that there was a lot going on in there already. You’ve got gin, curaçao, even pernod for crying out loud. But the Fentimans is the cleanest tonic we’re using, so that’s why it matched up."
So head to Mercat and grasp the last gasps of good weather with these all-day sippers. The complete menu is below.