The latest news in the spirits world: a classic gin and tonic is no longer the hot trend. It has given way to more exotic cocktails, according to sales figures reported by booze giant Diageo.
However, we still think you can't beat the simple and refreshing taste of a gin and tonic.
Tonic was originally produced as a way to consume quinine and therefore prevent malaria. These days the distinctive bitter flavouring in tonic water has been much reduced, meaning its medical benefits are negligible. But it makes tonic a much more palatable drink.
A well-balanced tonic can emphasise the flavours in your favourite botanical gin, or a strongly flavoured fruity tonic will jazz up something less exciting.
Or if you’re more adventurous and want to try tonic water with other spirits or even a few drops of bitters, look no further for a roundup of some of the best offerings out there right now.
Remember to upvote your personal favourite.
Best tonic water
1. Bermondsey Mixer Co - TonicView now at The Whisky Exchange
This might look like a flavoured tonic water but it actually gets its hue from natural ingredients.
The firm uses cinchona bark, the element which provides the bitterness, in its raw form. This is often substituted for a solvent extract so this is why there is a gorgeous golden tint.
A resulting warm dryness, rather than cloying finish, makes the tonic compatible with many spirits including gin, vodka, vermouth, tequila and more.
2. Fever Tree - ElderflowerView now at Amazon
The sweetness of elderflower combined with the dry bitter finish of quinine is a marriage made in heaven. Fever Tree has struck just the right balance here, resulting in a tonic water that’s light, floral and not overwhelming.
It’s eminently drinkable all by itself but also combines well with floral gins and good quality vodkas.
3. Fentimans - Valencian OrangeView now at Amazon
If you have a sweet tooth, then this tonic is for you as the Valencian oranges add extra sweetness. However, the addition of lemon thyme makes it refreshing and aromatic - perfect for drinking out in the sunshine on a Summer’s day.
It is versatile, too as the citrus flavour of this tonic makes it perfect for pairing with vodka as well as gin. It pairs particularly well with citrus and herbaceous gins.
4. Double Dutch - Cranberry and GingerView now at Amazon
Cranberry and ginger might strike you as an unusual combination but it’s surprisingly delicious and festive. This could be a great alternative for Christmas parties when you’re bored of mulled wine and in search of something a little brighter and more refreshing.
Ideal paired with either Jenever or a good spiced rum.
5. Franklin & Sons - Sicillian LemonView now at Amazon
If you like a slice of lemon in your drink but can’t be bothered with the faff then why not get some lemon tonic water?
This is a prime example thanks to the essential oils, peel and juice from the pressed Scillian lemons that Franklin and Sons uses. These are blended with Ecuadorian cinchona tree bark extract making it partner well with berry based spirits as well as gin.
6. Fentimans - ConnoisseursView now at Amazon
Sometimes the quinine and botanical flavours added to a standard tonic can overwhelm complex gins with more subtle or delicate notes, arguably ruining a beautifully balanced spirit.
It’s for this very reason that Fentimans has specifically crafted this tonic for combining with premium gins. The firm has reduced the quinine and kept the botanicals unobtrusive to make it softer and cleaner so the gin can really shine. Go grab a bottle of The Botanist.
7. London Essence - Grapefruit and RosemaryView now at Ocado
If you’re keen on the idea of low-calorie drinks but the artificial sweetness common to ‘slimline’ tonics fills you with dread, this could be just what you’re looking for.
There’s no added sweeteners and the balance of grapefruit oils and rosemary essence makes it fresh, crisp and surprisingly subtle. Perfect if you’re looking for something really refreshing and not too sweet, it pairs excellently with more herbal gins.
8. 1724View now at Amazon
This tonic gets its name from the Andes mountains where quinine was first discovered at 1,724 meters above sea level.
The company only makes one bottle and it’s softer and more citrusy than your average tonic. This means it pairs well with gin, but also vodka, cachaca and various aperitifs like Pimm’s.
If you need a versatile tonic, look no further.
9. Thomas Henry - Cherry BlossomView now at Piccatino
If you’re ok with the lurid colour then this is an excellent tonic for those wanting a nice balance of fruity and floral.
Thomas Henry says it wanted to answer the call for variety so this is the first tonic in the world to use cherry blossom. It also makes it one of the most aromatic, and since it’s on the bitter end of the scale, try it with a sweet vermouth if you need some balance.
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