My mother-in-law is utterly addicted to G&Ts, as indeed are most members of my husband’s family (must be something genetic?), so when a friend told me that delicious. magazine had run a recipe for a gin & tonic granita recently I took it as fate, as the whole horde of in-laws were due to visit the very next weekend.
Being a cautious soul, I decided to make the recipe well in advance so that I could remake or replan as necessary, so the day before I whipped it up and tested it on my good friend Merialc and her lovely partner. It was, to say the least, a triumph. So delicious that we all scoffed it down, and so alcoholic that we promptly forgot it was meant to be saved for the next day and ate the lot! Oh well…..
Be sure to use both gin and tonic water that are of good quality – it really will make a difference to the final result. Normally I’m a Sainsbury’s basics tonic water gal, but for this I used the Fevertree brand, which has a lovely complex flavour that survives the freezing process. I’d resist the urge to use a low-cal or diet tonic water too, as the artificial sweeteners will affect the way the granita freezes. For the gin, I used Juniper Green dry organic, but something like Bombay Sapphire would also work well.
200g caster sugar
500ml tonic water
Use a parer or small knife to remove half a dozen thin strips of peel from the lemons, being careful not to get any of the bitter white pith underneath. Put in a small saucepan with the sugar and 100ml (tap) water and heat gently, stirring to dissolve, and then simmer very gently for five minutes, or until the peel is just tender. Allow to cool.
Fish the cooked lemon peel out of the pan and set aside. Juice the lemons and mix the juice into the sugar syrup, along with the gin and the tonic water. Pour into a freezer-safe container, preferably one with a lid (a 2 litre Klip-lock box or similar is ideal). You need there to be plenty of space in the container, as it will expand as it freezes.
Now you need to freeze the granita-to-be for 2 or 3 hours. After the first hour take it out, and use a fork to vigorously whisk the mixture, breaking up any lumps. Repeat each hour until it is frozen in soft clumps (it will never set really hard because of the alcohol). Serve in chilled glasses, topped with the curls of peel.