Whether you prefer fruity or floral, spicy or herbal, you can find a gin to match. But tonic? That’s another story. Find out more about tonic and how to match it to your gin.
Why quality tonic matters
As big G&T fans, Fever-Tree co-founders Charles and Tim realised they were chasing down the right style of gin to match their mood and palate, but pairing it with the very same tonic every time – and not a good quality one at that.
Traditionally made from quinine, tonic water started out as medicine: a natural remedy to malaria. Quinine is extracted from the ground up bark of the cinchona tree, originally from Peru, and was very expensive due to its scarcity and ability to hold off malaria. The nickname given to this prized tree was the ‘Fever-Tree’, says Andy Gaunt, General Manager of Fever-Tree Australia & New Zealand, which inspired their brand name.
Fever-Tree’s Premium Indian Tonic Water launched in 2005, and now produces eight different styles of tonic so you can custom-match them to your favourite gin. Andy says it was a very simple premise to fill a big hole in the drinks market. “Flavour and quality were of the utmost importance, and that’s the belief we still operate by today,” he says. “If three-quarters of your drink is the mixer, wouldn’t you want it to be the best?”
How gin changed the tonic
While juniper is at the heart of every gin, not all gins taste the same.
“When we first started," Andy says, "gin was generally juniper-forward and robust - London Dry gins - which work well with the bittersweet Indian tonics we grew up with. However now gins are lighter, softer, floral and fruity, even savoury and spicy, and our range of tonics better enhance the diversity of modern-day gin.”
So how do you know which tonic suits which gin? “We have created a simple way of segmenting gins by common flavour characteristics,” says Andy. “We have developed a tonic for each segment that we believe brings out the best of gins that share similar styles and flavour characters.”
We asked Christian Blair, an expert mixologist from Sydney, Australia, to mix up some perfect gin and Fever-Tree tonic pairings based on their guides! Check them out - plus a delicious G&T recipe - below.
'Gin Garden': Dasher + Fisher Meadow Gin with Elderflower Tonic
Served in Spiegelau Specialty Gin and Tonic
This is a take on the modern classic cocktail called the Gin Garden!
- 45ml Gin
- 15ml Sugar Syrup (1:1 Sugar/Water)
- 15ml Lime Juice
- Pinch of Mint
- Slice of Cucumber
Muddle solids. Add liquids, shake and strain over ice. Top with Fevertree Elderflower Tonic, and serve with a slice of cucumber.
Never Never 'Southern Strength' Gin with Indian Tonic & Lemon
Served in RIEDEL Tumbler Collection Shadows Tumbler
A classic gin and tonic - nothing crazy or weird here. A solid and high-quality combination for those that love this traditional mix.
West Winds 'Broadside' Gin with Elderflower Tonic, Aloe Vera & Green Apple
Served in Spiegelau Perfect Serve Collection Long Drink
Broadside is a high-alcohol, big flavour spicy gin, the elderflower serves to temper that a little bit, and this is mirrored by the addition of the green apple and aloe.
Brookies 'Slow' Gin with Aromatic Tonic, Orange & Blood Sorrel
Served in RIEDEL Optical O Gin
Brookies 'Slow' is an Australian take on a Slow Gin using foraged Davidson Plum, which lends it a unique bittersweet flavour. We matched it to the Aromatic tonic as the drier, bitter addition to the Aromatic tonic fit the profile better.
Orange was added as it has a little more sweetness to the balance, and the Sorrel has a slight, barely noticeable bitter edge but also (importantly) looks great with it.
Manly Spirits Coastal Gin with Refreshingly Light Tonic, Grapefruit & Lemon Thyme
Served in RIEDEL Drink Specific Glassware Highball
A delicate yet complex gin, matched with a light tonic, and gentle citrus and herb characters.
ADL Hills Distillery 'Green Ant' Gin with Mediterranean Tonic, Lime & Nasturtium
Served in Spiegelau Perfect Serve Collection Double Old Fashioned
The Green Ant Gin has a light Coriander/Citrus Character and the Herbaceous Mediterranean Tonic flavour fills the gaps here, accentuated by the peppery Nasturtium and the acidity of the lime.
Archie Rose Dry Gin with Mediterranean Tonic & Tangelo
Served in RIEDEL Drink Specific Glassware Rocks
A classically styled lightly flavoured gin that leaves a lot of room for experimentation. We added the Mediterranean Tonic because it has a more complex profile.
Tangelo, because why not? It's in good season at the moment.