Putting the fizz into gin

You might think some of this is a bit over the top for a simple tonic, but in its recently launched Soft Drinks Review, Britvic pointed to a trend for “more discerning drink experiences” where consumer demand for premium spirits was leading to a growth in sales of premium mixers that deliver “high taste and quality credentials”. And generally mixers are faring well in the UK licensed sector, worth £305m last year, which is up 11% on the previous year. And it looks like the trend will continue as cocktails are set to account for 10% of all spirit sales in licensed outlets by 2020 (CGA data). Britvic’s report states: “As well as creating inspiring non-alcoholic cocktails, when paired with alcohol, a good quality mixer will make all the difference to the final taste and the overall drinking experience”.

One tonic with an impressive past is Schweppes, which is undergoing a relaunch. New-look 20cl bottles have black labels which demonstrate its heritage as the “creator of bubbles since 1783”. Brand owner Coca-Cola Enterprises says the new design includes adult wit to appeal to consumers aged 30-plus who are looking for brands to suit their lifestyles. Support for the relaunch comes from out-of-home and cinema advertising as well as a marketing and digital campaign. CCE says this is just the first in a series of investments planned for Schweppes in 2016 and promises that it will be the brand’s biggest campaign in 20 years.

Of course, not every tonic water has such an historic past as Schweppes. Fentimans tonic roots go back to 2007 after the company was approached by Famous Grouse to provide a mixer for its whisky. Fentimans came up with a ginger beer in a 12.5cl mixer size, but the partnership never developed so the company was left with mixer size stock, which prompted it to develop its tonic and the rest of the mixer range.

Jaala Pickering, event marketing manager at Fentimans, says a perfect serve is created by working to complement the botanicals used in the gin and those used in the tonic and even taking into account the garnish, but she says it will always come down to personal preference. “Boodles gin works perfectly with our tonic, but it can easily become too citrus in flavour for some if garnished with lemon.”


At Fever-Tree, Moreira agrees that the perfect G&T is a matter of opinion.

“Our recent developments in flavoured tonic options have helped to make the G&T more accessible and Fever-Tree’s extensive tonic range offers an option for everyone, meaning anyone can find their own unique perfect serve. Our elderflower tonic is sweet and floral, for example, while our Mediterranean tonic is herbaceous and crisp.

“We develop G&T menus with different establishments and bartenders, so the choices really are endless and operators can provide a bespoke service to suit every customer. We have been presenting our G&Ts in large copa glasses, taking inspiration from the traditional Spanish serve, and we find this to be both celebratory and simple.”

The Berlin-based Thomas Henry brand prides itself on its bitterness, due to its quinine content being higher than most other tonics on the market.