A trip around ‘Gin & Tonic’
Although today it is fashionable, Gin & Tonic is the oldest mix still consumed, and dates back to when the British East India Company was exploring Asia and the troops drank tonic water with a lot of quinine to combat malaria. However, its bitterness was not to the liking of the military, and they decided to add gin to sweeten its taste. This was Gin & Tonic, the drink now conquering the Spanish palates.
Many premises offer this drink in the Malasaña district in Madrid, where the bars take on more and more waiters and barmen capable of giving the 'perfect service'. The innumerable combinations of types of gin and tonics give a similar number of flavours and a common tone which makes Gin & Tonic the perfect cocktail for before and after a meal and for a night out in a pub.
It doesn’t matter whether you go down calle Pez or choose La Palma or its parallel street, Espíritu Santo: in all of the bars you see modern Spaniards and foreigners sipping their Gin & Tonic outside while smoking a cigarette. But not only people in tight trousers and sunglasses enjoy this fashionable drink. In the stately calle de Juan Bravo, in the exclusive Salamanca district, other specialised places offer their services to a different kind of smarter customer.
In the French style Barcelona, this mix is also coming in strong. In the Gracia district, Gaudí’s spirit makes sure from the Parque Güell that the tourists and local people are given exquisite service on the terraces and in the bars. The first thing for a Gin & Tonic to be served correctly is that the glass must be cold so that the ice melts slowly and does not water down the content. Then, depending on the type selected from the more than 240 gins now sold in Spain, the right dressings are added. Cardamom, China oranges, slices of lemon or a stick of liquorice are just some of these. But after this, the barman takes a long spoon and pours the tonic down its stem to make sure it goes in smoothly.
Also in the transformed El Borne district, the tapas bars, restaurants and pubs have added to the Gin & Tonic fashion. To the east of the Ramblas and at the other end of the Via Laietana, a labyrinth of narrow streets surrounded by ancient stone buildings house an unending selection of gins waiting to be tried. But if you need a rest, just stop in the nearby Parque de la Ciudadela, wait a few moments and set off again. A good Gin & Tonic well deserves a rest.
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