Gin and Tonic Season: Gin and Green Tomato Tonic

A splash of homemade pickling liquid lends a refreshing kick to this South Carolina cocktail

Photo: Jonathan Sharpe

These days the farm-to-table movement has intersected with the craft cocktail revival, and Southern mixologists are adding fresh, locally-grown vegetables to their repertoire.

Just ask Josh Streetman, the head bartender at Motor Supply Company in Columbia, South Carolina, who has been known to incorporate such things as roasted pumpkin or beet juice and fennel into his creations. He’s an avid gardener, too, and lately some of the produce from his own home patch has found its way into a few Motor Supply cocktails.

In their red-ripened state, tomatoes are the foundation of Bloody Marys, but Streeter couldn’t wait long enough for the romas in his garden to ripen. Instead, he concocted a pickled green tomato spin on the classic Gin and Tonic. “I have a really good recipe for a sweeter garam masala scented pickling spice,” Streetman says, “and I thought it would be a good accompaniment to a well crafted G&T.”

He starts with a basic cocktail recipe using Hendrick’s Gin, which has floral notes from cucumber and rose petals, and small-batch tonic from Charleston’s Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Then, he adds a shot of the liquid from his homemade pickled green tomatoes. “The pickling spice is refreshing and gives it a good light color,” Streetman says. Garnish with a couple of slices of tangy pickled tomato, and you have a cool, complex, and refreshing beverage that’s perfect for a hot Southern evening.


  • Pickled Green Tomatoes

    • Sugar

    • Red wine vinegar

    • Water

    • pinch garam masala

    • green tomatoes

  • Green Tomato Gin and Tonic

    • 3/4 oz. Jack Rudy tonic

    • 3/4 oz. pickling liquid from jar of pickled green tomatoes

    • Club soda

    • 1 1/2 oz. Hendrick's Gin


  1. For the Pickled Green Tomatoes:

    In a small saucepan, combine equal parts sugar, red wine vinegar, and water. Bring to a boil and add a pinch of garam masala. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and cool.

  2. Cut green tomatoes to desired shape. Place in a jar and top with pickling liquid. Refrigerate at least two days before serving.

  3. For the Green Tomato Gin and Tonic: Fill a highball glass with ice. Add the gin, Jack Rudy tonic, and pickling liquid. Stir, then top with soda water. Garnish with two pieces of pickled green tomato.

Recipe from Josh Streetman of Motor Supply Company in Columbia, South Carolina