Enhance The Flavors Of Your Gin And Tonic With Juniper Berries And Lime Balm

A classic gin and tonic is boozy and delicious when made solely from the ingredients in its name and garnished with a simple lime wedge. The cocktail gets its flavor from one of the main ingredients in the gin: juniper berries. The small blue "berries" produced by juniper trees give gin that fruity, slightly spicy, and mildly piney profile that you taste in each sip. To lean into that flavor profile even more and enhance the taste of your next G&T, go straight to the source by adding a garnish of juniper berries and swapping the lime wedge for lime balm.

For boozy inspiration, check out our bold gin and tonic created by Tasting Table recipe developer Michelle McGlinn. In this recipe, McGlinn uses two lime balm sprigs and five juniper berries in each gin and tonic. The lime balm adds what she calls a "bright green color with punchy lime flavor" while the juniper berries "offer a peppery, anise flavor that is very bold against the lime." The rest of the cocktail consists of 2 ounces of gin (we won't judge if you pour more), 2 lime slices, ice cubes, and around 3 ounces of tonic water poured into a highball glass.

Try these other ways to boost the flavor of your G&T

It's easy to add the juniper berries and lime balm because they're usually used as garnishes. If you can't find fresh juniper berries, dried ones also work because you will still get the same flavor and spice. The lime balm will add herbiness to the cocktail, but if you can't find it at your local grocery store, Michelle McGlinn suggests using lemon thyme or fresh mint instead. You could also use the closely related lemon balm for a slightly different citrus flavor paired with lemon slices or wedges. To lean into the juniper berry flavor even more, use a type of gin that has many of the same notes. 

Brands of dry London gin like Beefeater, Bombay, and Hayman's are known to have juniper-forward flavors. You can also experiment with various tonic waters to play up different aspects of your gin and tonic. For more essence of lime, use lime-flavored tonic water — or use diet tonic if you don't want your cocktail to be too sweet. And if you really want to take your G&T to the next level, consider garnishes like rosemary sprigs, grapefruit slices, rhubarb ribbons, or frozen berries like strawberries or peaches to balance out the citrus and pine notes of the juniper berries and lime balm.