Nightlife
From capers to yuzu – Budapest’s best gin and tonics
Photo : Milán Medgyesi / WLB

A G&T is always a good idea. It’s a drink with a long and interesting history: alcohol flavoured with spices and juniper berries was first created in the Low Countries and conquered today’s Holland and Belgium. In the 1700s, the English took a shine to it and there were times when gin consumption in London was out of control. Prohibited in the past, gin is an indispensable part of modern bar culture today. Gin is best mingled with tonic, but more spices and a sprinkle of magic make it it the perfect summer drink. See where to find the best G&Ts in Budapest.

Barside BeefBar Budapest Bestia GoodSpirit Whisky & Cocktail Bar Impostor & Baotiful St. Andrea Wine & Skybar

Barside

Barside on Madách tér is bijou-sized, so in winter it is more of a warm-up place. But during summer, a terrace awaits those who wish to spend some time over cool and radical cocktails. On the surface, Barside seems to blend in with other locales on the square – but its service and special drinks make it stand out. There’s no messing here when it comes to G&T, just endless quality ingredients and professional mixing.

The Perfect Serve here is made with Hendrick’s, Fentimans botanical tonic, pink peppercorn, black pepper and cucumber. These are the ideal flavours to match this premium gin from Scotland. You could also try the combination of Japanese Hanami gin and Royal Bliss yuzu tonic, citruses and basil. On a warm summer night, this soon goes to your head, but also cools you down.

  • Price range: 1,980-3,280 forints
  • Tip: Hendrick’s Perfect Serve
Barside
  • 1075 Budapest, Madách Imre út 10.

BeefBar Budapest

Popping into Beefbar is not only worthwhile for the tasty Kobe beef; as soon as you step inside, you spot the bar immediately, where you can mingle with the cosmopolitan crowd of hotel guests and local lovers of gourmet cocktails and long drinks. And of course, the best gins line the shelves, from Mediterranean to herbal. 
 

Of the masterpiece mixes here, the most special is packed with capers. Its vinegary and salty taste mingles perfectly with the gin and a more simple tonic. You could also try a concoction of BCN gin, a touch of red wine and rosemary, which brings a Mediterranean beachside resort to mind. Such a small twist can turn gin and tonic into quite something else. The bartenders also mix a sweeter G&T with hibiscus and apple, highly recommended to those who are not big fans of the slightly bitter taste, but like the aroma of gin. 

  • Price range: 2,800-4,500 forints
  • Tip: try the one with capers
BeefBar Budapest
  • 1013 Budapest, Clark Ádám tér 1.

Bestia

Bestia’s terrace provides a perfect panorama of St.Stephen’s Basilica, so trying their excellent craft beers here is a special experience. But not only the stouts are worth a try, but also the delicious long drinks.

Seven gin and tonics feature on the drinks list. The Mediterranean-style and citrusy Lazy Boy would be a perfect match with a sunset in Ibiza thanks to the Tanqueray Ten, Mediterranean Fever Tree tonic, grapefruit and basil. Coul Blush again tries to veil the bitter flavour with Caorunn gin, Mediterranean tonic and homemade apple-cinnamon aroma. This is a sneaky one.

  • Price range: 1,800-3,650 forints
  • Tip: Lazy Boy
Bestia
  • 1051 Budapest, Szent István tér 9-11.

GoodSpirit Whisky & Cocktail Bar

GoodSpirit in District V is an atmospheric cocktail bar, where the bartenders make exciting concoctions. And if you would like to try the same at home, all the alcohol they use can be found at the adjacent Whiskynet store. There is a separate gin and tonic menu here, on which various brands are paired up according to the bartenders’ own recommendations. For instance, Bobby’s with J Gasco Indian Tonic or Koval with 1724 Tonic Water. Then special spices and fruits make the concoctions complete. These long drinks are extremely popular, so if you order two gin and tonics between 5pm and 7pm, you get a free small spice bag and 10% discount at the store attached to the bar.

One favourite is the Gin Mare-1724 tonic with rosemary, but the special Nikka Coffey Gin also features in a limited amount and is served with East Imperial yuzu tonic. A big favourite is Citadelle, but you might prefer the citrus touch in Bobby’s Indonesian gin mixed with J Gasco’s classic tonic. GoodSpirit is totally fuss-free: you go in, have a nice drink and a chat with the bartender and the night suddenly turns into an experience.

  • Price range: 1,600-4,000 forints
  • Tip: Bobby’s and J Gasco tonic water
GoodSpirit Whisky & Cocktail Bar
  • 1056 Budapest, Veres Pálné utca 7.

Impostor & Baotiful

A playful neon design, great cocktails and food – Impostor is serious about starting the night well. The bartenders here have done a lot of experimenting with the drinks but one of the all-time favourites is still gin and tonic, whether a simple mix or something more complex. 

You’ll love the yuzu honey version made with Roku Japanese gin that holds cherry blossom, yuzu, Japanese pepper, tea and coriander. It comes with yuzu honey and a simple tonic. The Suze gin and tonic is a tasty blend of Suze liqueur, a French apéritif, and orange flavours. For those who are not keen on the bitterness, you could go for the Han Purple.

  • Price range: 1,490-1,790 forints
  • Tip: Yuzu gin and tonic
Impostor & Baotiful
  • 1052 Budapest, Vitkovics Mihály utca 8.
  • Opening hours during winter Mon, Tue: closed Wed, Thur: 18:00-22:00 Fri, Sat: 18:00-02:00 Sun: 14:00-22:00

St. Andrea Wine & Skybar

St. Andrea goes hand in hand with premium wines and top-notch gastronomy, but here we focus on its bar culture. In the repertoire of the Wine & Skybar on Vörösmarty tér, the cocktails, premium drinks and the best wines and champagnes share equally importance. You might be offered a mixed drink first blessed with a touch of Kaiken malbec wine before it is poured into a big glass, augmented with ice then drowned in BCN gin and Peter Spanton lemongrass tonic. The whole concoction is made complete with some rosemary in the end. The colour is pretty pink and the flavour divine. 

The elegant, classic Berkeley Square gin is made with coriander, cubeb pepper and lavender – St. Andrea takes this further and makes a lavender gin and tonic with it. But don’t worry that you’ll be served an overly sweet and perfume-flavoured lavender drink, as the citrus flavours keep the whole thing in perfect harmony. 

 

  • Prices: 2,450 forints
  • Tip: BCN-malbec
St. Andrea Wine & Skybar
  • 1052 Budapest, Váci utca 1.