Alternatives to tonic
When you think of gin, the next words you usually hear are “and tonic”. It’s like they were made for each other but why do we pair gin and tonic when other spirits are usually paired with sweeter soft drinks?
What if you don’t like tonic? Are you destined then to live a devastating gin-free life? Absolutely not! While history tells us the perfect mixer for gin is tonic, we’re not ones to always follow the crowd. Let us walk you through some of our favourite alternatives to tonic and fling open the door to the world of gin for all!
First of all: why tonic?
Why is gin mixed with tonic? Let’s go back to very beginning.
The ingredient that gives tonic its iconic tonic taste is called quinine; an anti-malaria drug used in the 1800s. Initially, this was consumed dissolved in water but an ingenious British officer decided to add it to his gin and thus the classic cocktail was born and has remained a very British staple.
Tonic’s very distinctive taste is still delivered by quinine (although in much smaller doses) and continues to be a much loved mixer to this day.
Finding the gin for you
It’s important to be able to taste the botanicals and flavours infused within your spirit. The mixologists and distillers have fine-tuned the ingredients to provide a taste they love and know you will too!
There’s now a huge range of gins on the market, each with their own unique taste and botanical blend. With mixtures of botanicals ranging from smoked pink pepper (Inventors Gin | 70cl | 40% ABV) to hibiscus (Kinrara | 70cl | 40% ABV) and even oyster! (Isle of Bute | 70cl | 43% ABV)
Making sure you know the ingredients in the gin can really help with your selection process. Reviewing tasting notes ensures you’re picking a gin with flavours you enjoy!
Finding the mixer for you
Mixers, like gins, come in a variety of shapes, sizes & flavours. Again, you don't want to buy lemonade if you don’t like lemons so be sure to check over ingredients, tasting notes and reviews for all the mixer insight you need!
Here’s just a few of our favourite alternatives to tonic to kickstart your gin journey!
Cushiedoos Quinine Free Tonic
Hear me out! While this is a tonic, it’s unlike any tonic you’ve ever tasted before. A light and smooth drink – totally quinine free! Cushiedoos uses Scottish water sourced from the Cairngorms before blending with locally sourced Scottish heather and silver birch, alongside wormwood for a bitter hint and sugar beet for a touch of sweetness. You’ll find no artificial sweeteners or preservatives in this tonic and it really pairs well with all spirits!
Known for its pairing with dark spirits, ginger beer is much more adaptable than you might think! A lightly carbonated ginger kick can complement many botanicals and add a bit of heat to a sweeter gin expression. Pair with dry gins for a crisp, clean finish or with sweeter gins to add a smooth, warming layer.
Move over Bloody Mary, Red Snapper is the new brunch favourite! Gin and tomato juice are the key ingredients for your Red Snapper cocktail, pop them in a glass with some Worchester Sauce and a dash of hot sauce and you’ve got the perfect brunch pick me up! We love Tongue In Peat Smoked Tomato Juice for the added peatiness – made with cocktails in mind, show off your new fave cocktail with peat smoke as your secret ingredient!
Now, maybe soda water on it’s own it’s everyone’s cup of tea (or gin!), popping a wedge of fresh citrus in will allow for the botanicals to really open up and pop. Since soda water is a blank canvas, you can really make it your own & experiment with cordials & fresh fruit to find a taste you love.
The Nuisance Drinks range is also a great option as these are flavoured sodas that are made using the best naturally sourced ingredients to create drinks that complement the finest Scottish Gins! Flavours include Wild Nettle, Wild Bramble & Rosemary and Mint, Cucumber & Chilli.
There’s a variety of lemonades on the market which can be paired well with gins – bitter lemon’s a real gin staple. With your lemonade, you want to make sure your flavourings don’t overpower your gin taste so fresh & crisp lemon based drinks like Summerhouse Misty Lemon pair perfectly with a classic London Dry Gin. There’s a range of flavoured lemonades with hints of botanicals you can use to elevate your favourite ingredients such as Summerhouse Hint o' Mint Lemonade.
We really hope you’ve found some inspriation from these tonic alternatives and find your new favourite pairing! Finding a gin you love is such a wonderful feeling but finding the perfect mixer? Set for life! You can browse our full mixer selection here or if you’re having trouble picking one out or looking for pairing advice, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out on social media. We use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!