The gin and tonic is undoubtedly an amazing mixed drink – but as we explore the art and science of mixology, don’t discount our favourite mixer as a key cocktail ingredient.
With its signature bitter notes and effortless effervescence, tonic water has more than proven itself as the perfect partner for gin. But, as new and premium tonics become more readily available, this miraculous mixer has also earned its place in the most refined mixology kit.
As Jen Draper of Franklin & Sons explains, “The main components for the range include Staffordshire spring water, which is low in mineral content, and so delivers a clean crisp finish on the palate and a perfect base for any premium spirit. Ecuadorian cinchona is used to provide quinine, the bitterness essential to all tonic water.”
Hand-harvested from Ecuador, the cinchona bark is then smoked and left to dry before the quinine is extracted. In the finished tonic, the bitterness of the bark is balanced perfectly by British sugar beets – and heightened by brilliantly fizzy bubbles.
Jen says, “When pairing a tonic with spirits, it’s essential that all of the subtle botanicals used within the spirit are heightened and brought to the nose with a strong effervescence. This is why the Franklins & Sons mixers are carbonated to the highest level possible, with perfectly refined bubbles, and make a perfect addition to cocktails.”
But how do you know which tonics will ruin your tipples, and which will take them to the next level?
The golden rule with cocktail ingredients is quality. Using freshly squeezed juices, quality liqueurs and craft spirits will always make the finished product superior, and that rule goes double for tonic waters. If you wouldn’t drink it in a G&T, don’t splash it into your cocktail. In short, stick to the good stuff!
Jen says, “Our whole range of mixers only uses natural flavours, extracts and colours and never include preservatives or sweeteners. This whole process ensures the result is one of only the finest quality which shines through in all our serves.”
And, if tonic isn’t up your street, don’t be afraid to build your cocktails around other premium mixers and soft drinks.
As Jen says of the Franklin & Sons soft drink range: “Just like the rest of the Franklin & Sons range, these well-balanced, natural soft drinks contain a tertiary flavour to allow more complex and interesting cocktails to be made for those who don’t necessarily enjoy the drier, more bitter taste of natural Indian tonic water.”