The Spanish, I learned, are simply wild for gin and tonics. Oscar carefully poured and mixed ingredients into a large round glass and handed me my drink. It was, truly, the best gin and tonic – light and refreshing. Too many gin and tonics I have had in the U.S. the tonic taste artificially sweetened and overpower the delicate herbal flavors of the gin. This drink was a perfect balance of an aromatic gin complemented, not coated, by the tonic.
I asked Oscar what was the secret to his gin and tonic? He said he used G’Vine, a French gin made from grapes grown in the Cognac region. His preferred tonic is all natural Fever-Tree whose quinine is sourced from the bark of the cinchona tree (a.k.a. “fever tree”) that grows in Africa’s Congo. And, finally there is the distinctive glassware. The Spanish like to serve their gin and tonics in large, bulbous stem glasses. Oscar added tasteful and artistic touches to each cocktail. We tried a few with aromatic foams and one with a berry-flavored frozen ice heart.
A month later, I ran into Oscar at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans where he demonstrated his magical mixing. A lot of bar industry folks were taking notes and photos. Could Oscar Diez’s techniques for gin and tonics be making its way to bars across America? For gin and tonic lovers, I hope so!