Bar Cock Gin Tonic (Drink of the Week)

Cocktail Madrid

Bar Cock pairs each gin tonic with a different garnish based on the gin's flavor profile.

Gin Tonic has become Spain’s national cocktail. Bar Cock is a great place to order one in Madrid. Emilio Saracho opened the historic bar on a Chueca side street in 1921. Perico Chicote took the reins in 1945. Since 1985, Teresa Nieto, Jose Astiárraga and Patricia Ferrer have owned Bar Cock, which now holds the distinction of being Spain’s oldest cocktail bar.

On my first foray to Spain, for my honeymoon, we enjoyed an after dinner drink at Bar Cock, which features a high ceiling with exposed wood beams, marbled-over fireplace, and gorgeous cast-iron lanterns. We sat across the wood bar from José Maria Contreras, who hails from southern Spain and has tended at Bar Cock for four years. Yes, they have a cocktail menu, but you won’t find a Gin Tonic (10€) listed. Still, Gin Tonic is one of Bar Cock’s most popular drinks, and Contreras prepared his masterfully.

I received a choice of gin and Contreras suggested Oxley, a cold-distilled London dry gin that he prefers, along with Monkey 47 from Germany’s Schwarzwald. He started by stirring ice into a glass and straining the excess water before building the drink in a chilled glass. He added gin, Schweppes tonic water, juniper berries and lemon peel, which he ran along the rim of the glass before dropping in the drink. Depending on the gin’s flavor profile, the complementary Bar Cock garnish might be basil or strawberry, which is a nice touch.

Bar Cock Gin Tonic (Drink of the Week)

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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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