By Julia Diakow
For this nautical themed Gin and Tonic, we’ve chosen to go with the Sabre offering from the West Winds Gin. Indeed, the Sabre is a very traditional British style of gin with a deliciously aggressive hit of citrus, juniper and coriander seed. A mellow creaminess is followed next on the palate thanks to the addition of Australian botanical, wattle seed.
Nautical & Tonic
60 ml The West Winds Gin Sabre
Top with Fever Tree Indian Tonic
Combine ingredients over ice, garnish with lemon peel and red currants
The concept of seafaring goes hand in hand with gin, which has its own very specific place in naval history. In fact, the mother of all classic combinations, the Gin and Tonic was thought to be created during the navy’s long voyages to colonial India. Quinine, a main flavoring in Tonic, had been well documented for its anti-malarial qualities and the addition of lime, heavy with Vitamin C, was seen to fight off scurvy.
In its early origins, Gin was certainly not the purest of spirits, as in the still, it boiled off quite quickly and was certainly not palatable. Thus, it was sweetened and heavily flavored to impart a better flavor and to even claim certain health benefits. For instance, the signature juniper berries were antioxidant rich, angelica was used in easing chest congestions and fevers, and coriander was known to ease digestive discomfort. The perceived, even if perhaps exaggerated medicinal value to these botanicals in Gin brought about great interest from the Royal Navy. What better way to have your cake and eat it too?
In fact, Gin had such a strong relationship with naval officers that it even prompted the Gin Pennant; a tradition of the Royal Navy which started at the height of the British Empire. A white and green flag with a picture of a wine or martini glass was said to be hoisted by Royal Navy warships in harbors across the globe, with the code R.P.C (Requesting the Pleasure of your Company) to come aboard for a cocktail, Gin and Angostura Bitters being in vogue at the time. The tradition carries on today, although the meaning has changed slightly, as it is now merely a signal to come aboard to celebrate an event or hold a meeting.