Premium Mixers: The tonic for mixers

Raisthorpe has produced tasting notes for each of the tonics and will be recommending how they can be paired with traditional as well as flavoured gins. It will be following this up with recommended serves and cocktail recipes.

Pairing is definitely ‘in’ when it comes to premium mixers, as illustrated by the fact that Fentimans has developed its first Spirit Pairing Guide. This covers light and dark spirits including gin, vodka, agave, rum, whisk(e)y, fruit brandy and wine. Fentimans worked with world-class mixologists to create the pairings. Claire Tyson, Fentimans senior customer marketing manager, says: “When users are mixing our drinks, we need to ensure they’re having the ultimate flavour experience. Our Spirits Pairing Guide can be used as an inspiration to try new and exciting flavour combinations.”

Fever-Tree offers a bespoke menu service to its customers, which has proven to uplift premium gin sales by 45% and G&T sales by 61%, as it allows customers to explore different G&T pairings and discover the choice available in the category.


Fever-Tree’s G&T pairing wheel also enables customers to navigate through the different styles of gin and discover G&T pairings with its range of flavoured tonic waters.

“It makes no sense to be serving a premium craft spirit with a low-quality mixer,” is the opinion of Mark Davidson, country manager for Australia and New Zealand at Artisan Drinks. “The use of post-mix or low-quality mixers reduces the quality of the mixed drink, whereas premium mixers improve the quality.”

He says there’s definitely a trend towards “authentic innovation” in soft drinks now in Australia and New Zealand. “While spirits, beer and wine have experienced a surge of innovation in the past decade, mixers have been slow to respond. That is changing – mixers now matter, to bartenders and to consumers. Everyone buys into the need to have a range of spirits offerings behind the bar. It won’t be long before it’s equally appreciated that having a range of premium mixer offerings to complement that variety of spirits also makes sense.”

Davidson says Artisan Drinks can straddle the world of spirits, with all its colour and innovation, bringing complementary flavours to consumers’ favourite cocktails, and the world of non-alcoholic cocktails or standalone adult soft drinks. “By way of example, our own Artisan Violet Blossom tonic perfectly complements a dry gin, can serve as the base for a colourful mocktail, or be presented as a refreshing long drink, served on its own over ice with a slice of orange.”

One flavour that is showing significant growth in the on-trade is malt and malt-based drinks. Developed in the 1960s, Supermalt is a non-alcoholic, caffeine-free, malt-based beverage with added B vitamins. Made using a unique blend of vegetable extracts and malt, brewed in the same way as beer, but without the added yeast to maintain its alcohol-free properties, Supermalt can be used for a range of spirit-based and cocktail drinks.

While gin remains all the rage, there is a growing focus on darker spirits and the mixers you can drink with them.