Last evening I spent most of my dinner discussion on the attributes of a fine gin and tonic with the British makers of Fever Tree. The gents flew nearly 5,000 miles to attend Tales of the Cocktail where they are the official mixer sponsor. Last night’s dinner was the result of a lay-over coup and a few locals were able to meet and greet with full-on Texas hospitality.
I was personally anxious to try the tonic water thinking I had never tried the mixer before. I spend most of my summers sipping the cooling concoction, and switch to the darker spirits in less miserable months.
The tonic, and other flavors of mixers, are relatively new but have gained momentum in the Dallas area rather quickly. Many local barmen have created their own tonic water, but often revert back to something easily obtained and full flavored.
The quagmire behind a mixer can be that you spend much of your energy (and cash) choosing the correct gin or other spirit where two-thirds of your glass is actually filled with a mixer. Most bars will use a gun and fill you up with preservatives and high fructose nonsense, but a few select bars will choose something worthy of your spirit of choice.
Enter Fever Tree which takes its name from the colloquialism for quinine, the only prevention for malaria. The high quality quinine harvested from the Congo makes a world of difference in your next cocktail with a bright and flavorful mix that elevates your cocktailing experience.
I had mentioned that I had not tried Fever Tree before, and that is not exactly true. Many of our favorite bars in the Dallas area have been using the tonic for some time now, including Cedars Social and Craft Dallas where we dined last night.
Fever-Tree: spring water, cane sugar, citric acid, natural flavors, Rwanda/Congo quinine.
Schweppes: carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, natural flavors, sodium benzoate, quinine.
The cost is a bit more than your typical Schweppes, but a side-by-side test eliminates what can only be described as a Hobson’s choice once the boutique tonic has been selected. The subtle flavor blend can actually be consumed on its own with a mix of natural flavors including coriander oil, lime oil, African marigold, Kenyon bitter orange oil and cane sugar. Fever is dry and tart with a perfect balance of sugar.
The flavor line-up includes Tonic Water, Naturally Light Tonic Water, Ginger Ale, Bitter Lemon, Ginger Beer, and Naturally Light Ginger Beer. Please note that the ginger in these drinks is actually ginger, a seemingly allusive ingredient in some brands.
You can find Fever Tree at Sigel’s, Central Market, Whole Foods, Specs, and Centennial Fine Wine & Spirits. One sip will convince you.