Gin’s renaissance continues apace. Sales of the spirit are at an all-time high and the number of UK distilleries has more than doubled this decade, with more premium varieties entering the market. Mixers have had to up their game to keep up. Bog-standard Indian tonic water from the corner shop no longer cuts it, as there are now a raft of unusual tonics and sodas made to be mixed with Britain’s drink du jour. With peak gin season approaching, it’s high-time we celebrated some of the best mixers out there…
Square Root’s Hop Tonic
Square Root have come a long way in short space of time. After first popping up at food markets in 2012 and spending their early years (literally) pedalling their wares across London on a tricycle, they now have their own Hackney premises and sell sodas, tonics and juices to some of London’s most forward-thinking bars and restaurants. This made-for-gin beaut, conjured from two types of American hop and flavoured with wormwood and citrus, showcases them at their best.
Dalston Cola Co’s Lemonade
There’s few things more revivifying after a long, hot day than the combination of dry gin, zesty, bitter lemonade and an igloo’s worth of ice. To really squeeze the most out of this timeless combo, try using a natural, good-quality lemonade like this one from Dalston Cola Co, which is hand-blended in east London using imported Sicilian lemons.
Pedrino’s Alcoholic Tonic
In prizefighter terms, Pedrino’s signature tonic is a pound-for-pound champion, one of the best of a new breed of premium mixers shaking up the spirit world. It carries a knockout punch, too. Laced with Pedro Ximenez sherry, produced in Spain and made with sun-dried grapes, this tonic gives your G&T an ABV of more than 5% before any gin is added, so tread very carefully.
Peter Spanton’s Cardamom Tonic
Peter Spanton produce some terrifically grown-up mixers and their cardamom tonic — No 9 in their range — is a revelation gem. The rounded, woody nature of the spice suffuses the tonic with a heady aroma and intriguing flavour which flatters gin’s sharp, bitter character without blunting its edge. Not suited to all palates perhaps, but those who do like it tend to really like it.
Thomas Henry’s Ultimate Grapefruit Lemonade
They may come from different parts of the world but gin and grapefruit are made for each other. The exotic fruit indulges the spirit’s bitterness while bringing levity in the form of an intense citrusy sweetness. It just works. No wonder, then, that this Berlin-produced grapefruit lemonade from Thomas Henry marries perfectly with most varieties of gin, and works particularly well in a cocktail. To keep up the Deutsche theme, try pairing with a German gin such as Monkey 47.
Merchant’s Heart Hibiscus Tonic
It’s a shame we don’t see more of this vibrantly coloured flower, as hibiscus is a versatile and virtuous ingredient, said to lower cholesterol and blood pressure while also improving digestion. But forget all that for the moment because what we’re talking about here is a perky hibiscus tonic from Merchant Heart. Recently released, this bright pink mixer carries less quinine than most tonics but has a lovely sharpness and candied fruit-like flavour.