Something a little different today as I have taken time away from whisky to have a look at the different experiences you get from different tonic water products that are on the market. The rules were simple; same gin, same glass, same amount of ice, same temperature, same measure, same everything apart from the tonic used as a mixer.
Hendrick’s Gin has been around since 1999 and was started by William Grant & Sons, well known for their Whisky. The company created it when they noticed a need for a truly British Gin. It is one of the biggest selling Gins today.
It is made with cucumber, amongst other botanicals, including yarrow, cubeb, elderflower and chamomile. The spirit has a really fresh profile. As well as great hints of juniper and citrus, cucumber is one of the main flavours. It is clean and sharp, with a wonderful bit to it and lots of depth and complexity. It is no wonder it have become such a massive brand.
Fentimans Light Tonic
Fentiman’s is an age-old brand, having been founded in 1905, that uses botanical brewing to introducing really intriguing flavours to all of their drinks. They bring in flavours such as ginger and other botanicals to put a bit of a twist on the usual soft drinks you get.
Their tonic is made in the same way and includes lemongrass, bringing in more citrusy notes. Their tonic has a more varied flavour profile than most, which really adds to the flavours of the Gin.
This tonic, for me amped up the citrus, like lemonade, lots of lemon notes coming through, quite light and fresh. Highly enjoyable.
Just The Tonic
A new brand to join the market this year, Just The Tonic is based in Scotland. Their formation shows how the boom in the Gin industry is effecting other markets as well, including tonic.
This tonic is crisp and fresh. There’s no beating around the bush with Just the Tonic. They are exactly what they say they are, and so is their tonic. For me, this tonic brought the gin character through most, kept the fidelity of the spirit and its flavours true and brought a fantastic freshness to the experience.
FeverTree Refreshingly Light Tonic
FeverTree is currently Britain’s favourite mixer. The brand came out of founders Charles Rolls’s and Tim Warrillow’s need to craft the best Gin & Tonic. So they developed Fever Tree as the answer to that need. They were started in 2005 and have been thriving ever since.
Their tonic is made from quinine, as most are, but also includes eight other botanicals. These include marigolds and bitter oranges. This makes for a wonderfully complex mixer.
I found this one to be quite thick, lots of citrus but the quinine note was quite top heavy, and dominated the flavour leading to the Hendricks being subdued and not as prominent as others made it.
Britvic Low Calorie
Originally the British Vitamins Product Company, Britvic have been making drinks for decades.
Their tonic has recently seen a relaunch and is popular in bars throughout the UK. It has a balance of sweet and bitter.
The Britvic tonic was really refreshing, quite viscous, lots of citrus bites including oranges, limes and lemon zest. Creamy in places but lacked bite – taste finished too soon.
Fentimans Premium Tonic Water
Another edition from Fentiman’s, who with over 100 years of experience should have a knack for making mixers.
This tonic is similar to the light version and is made with lemongrass as well.
I found this one to have a solid body, it enhanced the gin and brought to life the flavour of the citrus notes but had a lovely sweetness about it too. That lemonade note was interesting too.
Schweppes Slimline Tonic Water
With a history dating back to 1783, Schweppes are one of the most well known drinks makers today. They were started in Geneva, when Joseph Schweppe created the first carbonated water and decided to share it with the world.
Their tonic is smooth and mellow. It combines the perfect amount of quinine and citrus notes to complement most Gins.
This was really nice – lots of orange flavour with pangs of lemon and lime, juniper and a great mouthfeel. Solid, effervescent tonic that tells you why it’s been around so long.
Aldi Low Calorie Tonic Water
Aldi have a reputation for bringing out amazing products and surprising everyone. The budget supermarket recently released their own brand Gin, wowing consumers and critics alike.
Their tonic may not be as good as their Gin, but is certainly does the job.
Really good bang for your buck, but a short finish and less effervescence about it than others.
Top three from me – in no particular order
Having tried all seven tonics, I could not pick a favourite, but have narrowed it down to my top three – in no particular order:
Fentimans Premium Tonic Water
Just The Tonic