Where would Batman be without Robin… Starsky without Hutch… Bert without Ernie…. But most important of all!!! WHERE WOULD GIN BE WITHOUT TONIC!!!!! (I know the thought is too much to bear)… At the moment all us “ginthusists” are being spoilt rotten, the bustling gin market is masterfully creating some truly scrumptious drinks, turning a quick trip to the off license into a two hour mission! There is a misconception that a premium gin can be served with any old tonic water… however a quality tonic is just as vitally important as the gin itself. G&T is a dynamic duo, one cannot justly function without the other; nobody should overlook the importance of the tonic. Like its partner in crime the market for tonic water is also beginning to gain momentum and deliver to us a variety of choices. The companies are creating interesting tonics for the ever growing diverse gin market and it is amazing, all these new ideas are enhancing our drinks to create taste sensations and all have been carefully handcrafted to match certain types of gins and I am absolutely loving it. A few of the tonics that are sweeping through the market are the following:
A power house of in the tonic world, taking nations by storm and creating tonics that are right on point. Fever Tree was the master idea from Charles Rolls (ran Plymouth Gin) and Tim Warrilow (luxury food marketing background), they saw a massive gap in the tonic water market. Joining forces they sought out to change the tonic world and develop a product that wasn’t made with lots of artificial sweeteners or preservatives, so they set out on a 15 month journey to change the industry. Undertaking research about quinine the main component of our T, they wanted their product to have the best ingredients wanting to find the best of the best, the crème de la crème. And in 2005 after 5 variants of their drink they finally came to their final product and created their first bottle of the Fever Tree Indian Tonic Water. From their humble beginnings they have went from strength to strength and have developed a great range of tonics along with other mixers for all to enjoy, these include:
• Naturally Light Tonic – Suits all types of gin, very lights and refreshing
• Elderflower Tonic – A herby gin is the way forward with this tonic
• Mediterranean Tonic – Citrus gins work really well with this tonic
• Lemon Tonic – A sloe gin really matches perfectly with the lemon
• Aromatic Tonic – A spicy gin goes hand in hand with the aromatic
Fever Tree also do limited edition bottles we have been graced with such flavours as Spiced Orange Ginger Ale, Clementine Tonic & most recently Cucumber Tonic. Cant wait to see what they have up their sleeves next!
Schweppes has been a household name & favourite mixer round the world for too many years to even count, the history of the name goes back to good old German-Swiss born Jacob Schweppes, who in 1783 did some experimenting and was the first to lock down the bubbles in a bottle and invented the soda water, being the creator of the modern soft drink industry. It wasn’t until 1870 that the Indian Tonic Water was established and from then the company grew from strength to strength revolutionising the drinks industry. And the company is doing it yet again by launching its new Premium 1783 range, creating 6 new flavours, each carefully created to meet all spirit combinations. The new range uses all natural ingredients and offers some unique flavours, these include such flavours as:
• Cucumber Tonic – “marry beautifully with fruity vodkas and dry, floral gins.”
• Salty Lemon Tonic – “A Salty and citrusy notes merge with florals and aniseed
• Floral Tonic – “enchanting floral aromas perfect with juniper-rich gin”
Welcome back Schweppes you are definitely upping your premium game!
Stemming back to 1905, Fentiman’s is a family business, still owned by the original Fentiman family today. Thomas Fentiman received a recipe for botanically brewed ginger beer as a security for a loan that he gave to someone; the debt was never repaid to him so he gained ownership of the recipe and began to brew his own botanical delight. The original company logo is the image of the Fentiman’s Cruft winning canine, their pride and joy “Fearless” and it still graces their bottles today. From this era Fentiman’s grew and developed into the company it is today, branching out from their original brew to create a range of delicious premium mixers, some of my favourites:
• Pink Grapefruit Tonic – Zesty & refreshing, dry & crisp, premium citrus gin works well
• Valencian Orange Tonic – Refreshing & aromatic, perfect with citrus & herbaceous gins
• Botanical Tonic – Naturally sweet & sharp quinine, pairs with a floral gin
• Rose Lemonade – Aromatic, matches well with a juniper forward gin
Like their beloved family dog “Fearless”, Fentiman’s is being fearless themselves and pushing tonic boundaries by being bold and releasing an array of flavours.
A mere baby in the tonic world, Merchants Heart only came into being in 2015, however its basis and inspiration derived from an 1899 Japanese visionary, Shinjuro Torii, who was the founder of Suntory (one of the oldest companies in the distribution of alcoholic beverages in Japan). Torii’s life work was aimed at creating the most exceptional drinks that he could, and he developed a powerhouse within Japan, but even with his success he always remembered were he came from; his mantra was “We may have grown from shop to company, but we must always be a tradesman; we must never forget our merchant’s heart”. Inspiration was drawn from this ethos and Merchants Heart developed their company, calling together a number of world leading drink makers from within the UK to develop enhancers that they wanted to see behind their bars and use within their own drinks. Merchant’s Heart have established tonics that are creative and quirky and darn right tasty:
• Hibiscus Tonic – A delicate infusion of sweet & bitter, perfect with citrus gins
• Pink Peppercorn Tonic – Soft, fruity spice, matches well with aromatic gin
• Floral Aromatics – Light with soft quinine hint, good with citrus gin
Merchants Heart drew inspiration from a ground breaking man, and based their company on his mantra, he sought to change Japan’s drink industry and create exceptional products. And like Torii, Merchant’s Heart are creating exceptional tonics, cant wait to see what creative delight they come up with next!
The above tonics are just a mere drop in the ever growing tonic water ocean, there are so many great mixers out there and more are coming frequently onto the market. Other great companies to keep an eye out for are Double Dutch, East Imperial, Poachers Irish Mixer, Lamb & Watt, Luscombe Drinks and BTW Tonic. I will hopefully bring you more exciting and delicious mixer news soon.