Gin lovers, don’t ever let the bartender do this to your drink

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Kayleigh Dray

Gin, crafted from junipers, aromatic herbs, and (presumably) magic, has become one of our biggest obsessions in life.

Not only is your G&T is actually very good for you, but it can also reveal some intriguing titbits about your personality.

And it’s also worth pointing out that the refined drink is the tipple of choice for many of society’s greatest names, including Dorothy Parker and Sir Winston Churchill.

However it’s come to our attention that there are some dastardly forces at work – and they could quickly wind up ruining your gin experience, if you let them.

1. Say no to that slice of lime

Turn down that lime wedge

Turn down that lime wedge

Is that slice of lime in your G&T really as clean as you think it is?

A study published in the Journal of Environmental Health revealed that there were dangerous levels of microbial growth on 70% of citrus slices sampled from 21 different restaurants and bars.

Researchers explained: “The microbes found on the lemon samples in our investigation all have the potential to cause infectious disease at various body sites, although the likelihood was not determined in this study.”

Speaking with Elle UK about the results of the study, Philip Tierno, PhD - a clinical professor of microbiology at New York University – added: “People are touching the lemon in your glass, handling it, cutting it, placing it in a container or a cup, and then pucking up those slices at a later point in time and dropping them into a drink and putting them on the rim of a glass."

He pointed out that many bartenders and servers might not practise good hand washing, “especially after using bathroom facilities” – and that this could lead to a particularly grim citrusy treat winding up in your glass.

Which, naturally, makes that lime slice sound a far less appealing prospect.

If you’d still like that lime-y kick to your drink (although experts do say a lemon wedge is better suited as a flavour partner), ask for the citrus slices to be served alongside your drink on a small plate.

 You can then squeeze the juice into your glass yourself, rather than drop the whole wedge into your G&T.

2. Don't ever let anyone shake your gin

Don't let anyone shake your gin

Don't let anyone shake your gin

Ever heard James Bond order a gin-based martini, “shaken not stirred”? Don’t copy him, for goodness sake; it turns out 007’s license to kill doesn’t just apply to weaponry, it also applies to your taste-buds.

Speaking to Tales of the Cocktail, Shannon Stewart, a research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, explained that shaking your gin-based cocktails can have a damaging impact on the drink’s wonderfully subtle taste. 

“Any complex mixture of odours is generally divided into three parts: top note (in perfumes this is also known as the head note), middle note (heart note) and base note or fixative,” Stewart said.

The top note of the gin is the most enticing one; the juniper and the coriander.

“The quality of juniper actually doesn’t come from a single compound, but rather a mix of lightweight alcohols,” she said, explaining that when you agitate gin by shaking it, you cause the top notes to dissipate, and the pine and botanical flavours to break down.

“This is what we call bruising,” Stewart said. “Once you’ve shaken it, the rest of the drink only contains middle and base notes. Yuck.”

Instead, she advises using lots of ice, and stirring your cocktail thoroughly.

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3. Don't ever mix your gin with unrefrigerated tonic

Always ask for refrigerated tonic in your gin - and plenty of ice

Always ask for refrigerated tonic in your gin - and plenty of ice

If you want your gin to taste as perfect as it possibly can, you need to keep the temperature as low as possible.

This calls for refrigerated tonic and ice – plenty of it.

Speaking to The Telegraph, drinks scientist Stuart Bale said that keeping your drink chilly ensures that the carbon dioxide molecules which create the bubbles find it harder to escape.

This means that your drink will stay fizzier, and more aromatic for longer.

4. Never let your bartender serve your G&T in a tall tumbler

Don't let bartenders fob you off with the wrong glass

Don't let bartenders fob you off with the wrong glass

While most G&Ts are served in tall glasses and tumblers, experts have said that you should ask for a large, wide glass (such as a balloon glass) instead.

Bale explained to The Telegraph that this ensures you can appreciate the flavour to the fullest. 

“Eighty per cent of what you taste comes through your nose.

"A lot of the aroma and flavour compounds are carried by the bubbles, so the bigger the surface area, the more bubbles you get coming to the surface.”


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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