We’ve gone through lots of different mixers in a year, but what are our favourites? Here’s Gin Explorer’s Top 5 Tonics of 2016.
The recent gin renaissance has seen an equal surge of interest in tonics, After all, to make a good gin and tonic, you obviously need to have a good gin but it’s surprising how much difference using a decent tonic makes. The supermarket own brands just don’t quite fit the bill for many a G&T connoisseur – they use high amounts of artificial sweeteners that mask the natural botanical aromas.
There are now a huge variety of tonics to choose from where people have spotted a gap in the market for something more high quality and premium. Here’s a list of our top 5 tonics from the Gin Explorer Box in the last year.
It goes without saying, this one would be included! Fever-Tree found a gap in the market for a premium offering and were one of the biggest contributors to the Gin Renaissance. Their Mediterranean Tonic Water and Aromatic Tonic Water were seen in our August boxes. The Mediterranean Tonic is made by blending their superb tonic water with the essentials oils from Mediterranean flowers, fruits and herbs. Mediterranean Tonic has a rounded flavour and subtle savoury herbiness. In order to make their Aromatic Tonic, they took the key component of Angostura Bitters and infused it into their fabulous, award winning tonic water. Refreshing and aromatic, with subtle citrus and spice notes, it’s simply perfect for a G&T, especially when paired with navy strength and juniper-rich gins
Inspired by the beauty and richness of the Mediterranean, Original Tonics are bright and bold tonic waters with flavours and botanicals that epitomise the landscape and fauna of the area. Such modern and exciting flavour combinations make Original Tonics a superb companion to modern, Spanish-style gins. Those of us who had the July box may remember the bright pink of the Original Tonic Berries which was a balance of strawberries and raspberries, making it sweeter than other tonics. Or the shocking blue of the Original Tonic Citrus which encompassed both the lighter aromas of grapefruit or bitter orange and the intense tartness of lemon and lime.
Double Dutch Drinks was established by Dutch twins Raissa and Joyce de Haas. Their philosophy is to create a mixer that should elevate the spirit, spurring the taste buds to experience new and richer, deeper and more exciting flavours. It should reward the drinker with sensations that improve, rather than diluting their chosen drink. Their Cucumber & Watermelon Premium Mixer is clean and refreshing, slightly sweet but balanced with the crisp, floral aromas of cucumber. The Pomegranate & Basil Premium Mixer has an intense Italian basil flavour, very savoury, but with pomegranate to mollify the bitterness.
This featured in our October box and is recognisable from the warm amber colour. It’s the most distinct feature of the BTW tonics. The quinine is extracted from soaking South American Cinchona bark in small batches which takes a little longer but is worth the effort. Most tonic makers will bleach the bark which is why we’re used to seeing a clear tonic. BTW lacks the sharp citrus and delivers the bitterness stupendously. It’s made in East London and based on a traditional Victorian recipe.
Franklin & Sons Tonic
This company dates back to 1886 where the Franklin family’s small confectioners shop was found in Rickmansworth in London. The Franklin brothers quickly established themselves as experts in creating authentic, high-quality recipes made from delicious hand-picked ingredients.
Their Sicilian Lemon Tonic made with Italian lemons giving it a sharp, sweet concoction makes it the perfect match for a sloe gin. This, together with their natural Indian Tonic both won Great Taste Star awards in 2016.
Which has been your favourite tonic so far in the box?! Deciding on a tonic can be almost as tricky as choosing your gin!