Here at Craft Gin Club, we - naturally - love a classic gin and tonic. However, we also love being creative with gin and coming up with lots of new and delicious ways to enjoy our favourite spirit! In fact, many of our Gin of the Month boxes contain mixers that can be used as a fabulous alternative to the traditional tonic we also include in every box.
So, if you run out of tonic, would like to try a twist on your usual G&T, or have never been a huge fan of tonic in the first place - here’s our list of 20 of the best alternative mixers to pair with your gin. Bottoms up!
GIN & BITTER LEMON
Gin goes fantastically well with citrus (as we know from the classic garnishes of lime or lemon). Bitter lemon is a popular alternative among those who don’t particularly enjoy the taste of tonic, and it’s handy to have in the cupboard as it goes well with most gins.
GIN & GINGER
We love the combination of gin and ginger beer, and it’s fast becoming one of the hottest trends in the world of gin. You can add this warming mixer to pretty much any gin, too. Believe it or not, gin and ginger ale (with some added herb garnishes for extra flavour) is also a lovely combination.
GIN & VERMOUTH
Ok, it’s a bit of a cheat, but you can’t go wrong with a Martini! This quintessential gin cocktail is beloved not only for its classic flavour, but for being ridiculously simple to make: take 50ml gin and 15ml of dry vermouth, stir (don’t shake!) and strain into a glass. Pop a slice of lemon in as a garnish and you’re ready to sip.
GIN & LIME CORDIAL
Lime juice and cordial are both equally happy bedfellows of gin. If you have a bottle of gin and some lime cordial in your home, then you’ve got the makings of a gin Gimlet! While it’s perhaps more traditional to make this with lime juice and simple syrup, lime cordial is a yummy and totally acceptable cheat’s option for replacing those ingredients! Combine 3 parts gin with 1 part cordial, stir, sip and enjoy.
GIN & GRAPEFRUIT
GIN & PINK LEMONADE
Not a fan of the bitter taste that tonic brings? Satisfy that sweet tooth with gin and pink lemonade! Garnish with some sweet, juicy strawberries, raspberries or - if you like a little tang of tartness - a little stalk of rhubarb. Alternatively, add a splash of elderflower cordial and some fresh peach slices and you’ve got yourself a dreamy pink gin cocktail.
GIN & COCA COLA
To be honest, we wouldn’t recommend this combination for the beautiful craft gins that we offer our members, for example, because the strong taste of the coke would overpower the delicate, subtle flavours of the gin. That said, adding coke to a decent everyday gin, along with a few dashes of orange bitters or 15ml of fresh lime juice, can make a refreshing alternative to a straight G&T.
GIN, LIME & SODA
Gin and soda, or, more widely known as a Gin Ricky, is exactly that - fill a highball glass with ice, 50ml of your favourite gin, top up with soda water and a squeeze of fresh lime. Very similar to a gin and tonic, but without the bitter taste of the quinine found in tonic water. It is more of a savoury, zesty drink with no real sweetness, but very refreshing - and at only 100 calories per serve, it's a relatively guilt-free way to enjoy your favourite spirit!
GIN & CRANBERRY
For a tart, dry mixer for your gin, try cranberry juice (ideally made by pureeing and sieving fresh cranberries, but otherwise, shop-bought juice is fine). We like to mix our gin and cranberry with a twist and squeeze of lemon to give it added zing.
GIN & TOMATO JUICE
If you haven’t heard of a Red Snapper before, you can’t be blamed – this cocktail has long been overshadowed by that juggernaut of brunch cocktails, the Bloody Mary. But, by swapping the vodka for gin, a staid classic is transformed into a botanical wonder packed full of ginny joy!
If possible, make your own by par-boiling (you could skip this bit but it improves the taste), blitzing and straining a couple of really ripe, fresh tomatoes - it creates unbeatable flavour and has a nicer, thinner texture than many of the thicker shop-bought tomato juices.
GIN & PROSECCO
Prosecco plus gin makes for a boozy, bubbly, beautiful pairing. Simply add your sparkling wine (or champagne, if you’re being fancy) and some honey to your gin for a deliciously sweet and refreshing concoction, or try your hand at one of these gin and prosecco cocktail recipes.
GIN & COFFEE
Gin and coffee as a combination is not everyone’s, erm, cup of tea (sorry!), but we think that - with care - it can work well. Do make sure you’re using both a high-quality gin and a coffee - this is not one to try with your supermarket brand freeze-dried granules!
For a ginny take on a classic espresso martini, simply shake up your usual espresso with ice, a dash of coffee liqueur and your usual serve of gin, then strain into a coupe glass et voila!
GIN & IRN BRU
Ok, so this one is a bit tongue in cheek, as we wouldn’t usually want to hide the subtle flavours of a fantastic craft gin with such a potent mixer! However, gin cocktails featuring Scotland’s “other national drink” aren’t unpopular - you can find three of the most popular recipes here!
GIN & ELDERFLOWER
Gin and elderflower cocktails - using either elderflower liqueur, elderflower cordial or elderflower pressé to flavour the drink - have been gaining in popularity over the last few years, partly due to the gloriously long, hot summers that required a more refreshing tipple than a warm glass of white wine in hand. Try these easy gin and elderflower cocktail recipes for a spring drink that provides a more delicate alternative to your G&T.
GIN & ORANGE
For summer in a glass, simply add freshly squeezed orange juice to your gin for a fruity, refreshing cocktail. If you can find some in-season blood oranges, even better - the dramatic crimson colour will have your friends oohing and aahing over their martini.
GIN & APPLE JUICE or APPLE CIDER
Apple juice is another classic mixer for gin. We’ve got dozens of gin and apple juice recipes in our cocktail hub that you can browse - our favourite might be this one - just add lemon juice and honey to your gin and juice, and you’re all set with a sweet, apply drink that’s perfect for summer.
If you are feeling even more adventurous, you can branch out (no pun intended) into using apple cider as a mixer. Try this delicious recipe for an apple cider gin fizz.
GIN & PINEAPPLE
Pineapple juice is an excellent choice of gin mixer for those with a sweet tooth. Even better, top up your drink with a little prosecco and some caramelised pineapple for an easy tropical cocktail - heaven!
GIN & EARL GREY TEA
Earl Grey tea is a lesser-known mixer that deserves to be thought-of in the same ranks as the other classic accompaniments to gin. For an easy, quick Earl Grey martini, brew a pot of tea and cool it in the fridge, then pour 1/4 cup of tea and 3/4 cup of gin into a cocktail shaker with ice, and strain into a chilled martini glass. Alternatively, if you have a bit more time and energy, you could try this beautiful Earl Grey tea and lavender gin cocktail.
GIN & STRAWBERRY
Blitz up some fresh strawberries and lemons, combine with your gin and chilled soda water or lemonade and - hey presto - you’ve got the perfect thirst-quenching cocktail to sip at a summer garden party!
YOUR OWN INFUSION
Okay, so the quality of the tipple is certainly not going to be at the level of the top-quality craft gins we feature in our Gin of the Month boxes - but for a bit of fun and to make a change from your usual G&T, why not try one of these homemade flavoured gins?
We’ve put together a guide to making homemade flavoured gin. Herbs and spices like vanilla, thyme, lavender, mint, cardamom or chilli may only need a few hours steeping in the gin, whereas fruits, strongly flavoured vegetables and berries will probably be best left for a week or two, maybe even up to a month.