Poptail Recipe: Mango Gin and Tonic with Black Pepper

July 7, 2018 10:40 am | Make a Comment

When I say Mango + Gin + Tonic + Black Pepper …. how does that flavour combo feel to you? 

On paper, I think it sounds a bit strange, but to me it feels like it might work. 

And it does. Do you know why? 

Drinks scientist Stuart Bale was commissioned by the gin brand Gin Mare to find the perfect garnish for a G & T. Story goes he tried 120 different combinations before finding that it was Mango with a twist of black pepper that was the perfect match.

Not lemon, not lime?

Well actually, both juniper (the main botanical in gin), mango and black pepper all contain relatively high amounts of a chemical compound called pinene – so when all mixed together there is a flavour explosion in your mouth. #winning #blessed

(PS pinene can also be found in pin conifer trees, orange peels, turpentine, pine needles, rosemary, dill, basil, parsley and cannabis …. but let’s just keep it simple .. and legal today).

He goes on to recommend that if you are going to use lemon or lime (lime tends to be more trendy) that you should opt for lemon. Reason being that the majority of gins have lemon notes not lime. hmmmm might have to rethink things!

In any case, I use lime in this recipe as a) that’s all I had b) I read this after I made the recipe c) I still think lime feels like the better choice for me. 


Here is my recipe for :

Mango Gin and Tonic with Black Pepper poptails

This is for 8 x 85ml moulds 


60ml Gin (we used The Botanist Gin – Islay Dry Gin)

400ml Tonic (regular old tonic if that’s all you’ve got, otherwise try something like Fever-tree)

170ml Mango

3g Cracked Black Pepper (adjust to taste)

10g Sugar 

15ml Hot Water

Squeeze of Lime



Puree the mango and set aside in a bowl. Measure out the tonic and slowly pour into the puree and use a whisk to combine. If you add them both together fully at the same time the mango will clump together and not mix properly.

Add gin to the tonic and mango mix

In a small cup add 10g sugar (this is to taste so adjust to your preference) and a splash (if you want to be accurate say 15ml) of hot water and stir til dissolved. 

Add to gin, tonic and mango. 

Stir in black pepper and squeeze in lime to taste.

Adjust black pepper and lime until you are happy with it. 

Pour into moulds, and put in the freezer overnight. 

Hopefully there is some mix left over and you can pour into a glass, add some ice, a bit more gin and a squeeze of lime and cracked pepper and get a head start!


Substitute the black pepper for freshly grated ginger for a Mango Ginger Fizz.


As you probably know alcohol doesn’t freeze. So when constructing poptails we need to be mindful of how much alcohol and sugar we use. As a rule of thumb I try not to use any more than 8-10% of alcohol by volume. Therefore in a 85ml mould you might use around 7.5ml or so. 

When looking for cocktails for inspiration I look for long cocktails – sadly – my favourite cocktails tend to be shorty boozy ones – won’t work. 


Want to make the actual cocktail at home?

Here is the recipe (and image) courtesy of Sprinkle and Sprouts

Mango and Black Pepper Gin and Tonic


  • 1 cup ice
  • 1/2 cup gin
  • 1 1/2 cups tonic water
  • 2 thick slices of mango
  • good grinding of black pepper
  • 2 sprigs of mint



  1. Add the ice to two glasses and then pour over the gin.
  2. Pour over the tonic water and garnish each glass with a mango slice a good grinding of black pepper and a sprig of mint.


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