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When I order multiple G&Ts which should I ask for?

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I always ask for "Gin and tonics". Complex phrases used as proper nouns are always a little complicated, but in most cases we treat the entire phrase as a noun an attach the plural -s to the final element. This is true even in the case where the final element isn't even a noun, as in the sentence "Do six sit-ups".

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A gin and tonic is a drink with the gin and the tonic already mixed. It's one thing, so "gin and tonics" is correct.

If you ask for "three gins and tonics" it sounds like you want three glasses of gin plus some bottles of tonic water.

If you ask for "three gins and tonic" it sounds like you want three glasses of gin plus one bottle of tonic water.

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The above answers may be correct if the bar serving the beverage is in the US or a Mediterranean country such as Italy. In fact the cocktail is probably served already pre-mixed in the glass. I say probably because I have never ordered a G&T in Italy. However, when ordering multiple Gs&Ts in the UK the correct way of asking is:

  • Three gins and tonics

The barman will serve the client three glasses of gins and three small bottles of tonic water (to allow each person to add the quantity of tonic to gin that is their preference).

Introduction to the British Pub

If you ask for a mixed drink - a G&T for example, you'll get a measure of gin in a glass, a small bottle of tonic water and a slice of lemon or lime. You then mix in as much tonic as you like and add ice cubes from the bucket on the counter.

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