Premium Mixers: The tonic for mixers

Cuthbert at Fever-Tree says: “It is evident that growth in cocktail culture is introducing to the dark spirit category a younger audience hungry for new serving suggestions, with 60% of 18 to 34-year-old whisky and rum drinkers using premium mixers (Source: CGA).

He points to Fever-Tree’s ginger range, which he says pairs perfectly with the complex flavour notes of the world’s finest whiskies.

“The de-stigmatisation of how to drink whisky is also exciting. Mixing whisky, particularly with ginger ale, is a trend we expect to see grow as customers are learning that they are ‘allowed’ to drink whisky however they like.”


This ‘permission’ to mix whisky is communicated in Haig Club’s Make Your Own Rules advertising starring brand partner David Beckham. One of the ads shows Beckham creating a Haig Club cocktail to challenge the myth that whisky can’t be enjoyed with a mixer.

And Schweppes 1783’s latest addition – Muscovado – was crafted by mixologists to enhance the taste of dark spirits such as whisk(e)y and rum.

“Schweppes 1783 Muscovado is naturally flavoured to deliver hints of vanilla, caramel and butterscotch and will help licensees tap into the growing popularity of dark spirits,” says Amy Burgess, trade communications manager at Coca-Cola European Partners.

According to a study by Franklin & Sons, good-quality premium mixers are also breathing new life into spirits from yesteryear. Jen Draper, head of marketing at Franklin & Sons, says that more than half of trendy, 18 to 34-year-old millennial drinkers are considering mixing an old favourite with a premium tonic (53.2%) – with 70.6% of these saying they would consider re-mixing brandy or sherry.

“Our findings show that the rise and rise of premium quality tonics and mixers is continuing, with Brits using their rekindled love of a G&T to rediscover old favourites such as sherry, port and brandy with tonic,” she says.

The new Franklin & Sons flavoured tonic water range has been specially created to mix well with a variety of spirits – not just gin. There are four flavours designed to enhance lower-abv serves: Rosemary tonic water with Black Olive, Rhubarb tonic water with Hibiscus, Elderflower tonic water with Cucumber, and Pink Grapefruit

And it’s not just Brits who are enjoying the Franklin & Sons range, as brand owner Global Brands has increased its international footprint to more than 55 countries and grown export volumes of its premium range of soft drinks, tonics and mixers by 100% in the 12 months to the end of June 2018.


Meanwhile, the Thomas Henry brand is enjoying continuous double-digit growth, primarily driven by the western European market. The company’s CEO, Sigrid Bachert, says: “Every country has its own success story. In Italy, for instance, our spicy Ginger Beer enjoys great popularity, the Netherlands, however, are more focused on tonic water varieties. And, with great expectations, Thomas Henry has now made it across the pond, entering the US market in June just in time for Bar Convent Brooklyn.”

June also saw the launch of Thomas Henry Coffee tonic, which Bachert says brought a big barista trend into the world of bartenders: cold-brew coffee, with a high quinine content, to be consumed pure or mixed with spirits such as rum, whiskey or amaro.