I am always amazed at how many people overlook the importance of mixers and how they can transform your drink. You might spend ages scanning through the gin list but hardly think about your mixer… “Could I have The Botanist and Tonic, please”…
Have a think… Have you spent any time exploring the range of premium mixers and finding the perfect tonic waters to go with all the craft gins? Or do you settle for the brand from the local supermarket?
Last year in the UK we bought over 47 million bottles of gin(!!), which means a huge amount of tonic water is also being consumed. I would love to know how many people actually gave similar attention to the tonic water… Despite it having such a material impact on taste, many people give no thought to their choice of mixer.
Why are mixers so important?
Mixers are there to enhance the drinking experience, as not everyone likes their spirit neat. Something as simple as Vodka Soda will taste nice and crisp if you use a good quality soda (assuming you are already mixing with a top-notch vodka). You might not think so, but there are significant differences between soda waters, and I would always encourage you to choose one with low salt levels, long-lasting fizziness and a clean taste.
For a G&T you want a tonic water that is not overpowering with bitterness and other flavours – you should be looking for something that complements the gin. Choose a tonic made with natural ingredients and without artificial sweeteners. Most tonic waters have a slight lemony taste, but they should be well balanced and easy enough to drink on their own. Like with soda water, you want your tonic to have enough bubbles.
As I said before, try to stay away from artificial sweeteners because they often have a major impact on the flavour. Some sweeteners even have a slightly metallic taste, which can corrupt the taste of a good quality liquor. They also play tricks with your body. Tonic waters (and other mixers) with zero calories contain a lot of sweeteners, and when you drink or eat something sweet, your body will expect calories to accompany the food, but when there’s none, the body starts looking for them elsewhere.
Basically, you think you will be cutting down on calories by choosing slimline options, but, in fact, you’re likely to drink or eat more calories somewhere else. And on top of that – it can ruin a great gin!!
Llanllyr Source Mixers
Llanllyr Source mixer range might be simple, but the quality of their mixers is excellent. Llanllyr is located at the base of a glacial valley in west Wales, and it is the glacial sands and the endless rainfall that contribute to the perfect mineral balance of their natural spring water.
This low-mineral water, which is drawn from certified organic land, is then combined with natural ingredients to create the Llanllyr Source mixer range. You can choose from Tonic Water, Light Tonic, Club Soda, Bitter Lemon (try it with Sloe Gin), Sparkling Lemonade, Ginger Ale, Ginger Beer and super yummy Fiery Ginger Beer.
Their Tonic Water has only 37.2kcal/100ml and it is made from natural quinine, pure sugar and natural flavours from Sicilian Lemons. And like a proper tonic, this one is also nice on its own. Llanllyr Source Bitter Lemon is also made with natural quinine and has lovely fresh citrusy flavours from Brazilian oranges and Sicilian lemons. The dry quinine is well balanced with subtle sweetness from the oranges.
Ginger beer is often mixed with darker spirits, but it also works with gin. Shake together 30ml gin, 25ml Amaro and 15ml lime juice. Strain into an ice-filled highball and top up with Llanllyr Source Ginger Beer. Their Ginger Beer is surprisingly low on calories too (only 35.4kcal per 100ml)!
Not only are Llanllyr Source creating wonderful premium mixers, they are also very aware of their carbon footprint and keeping the environmental clean. They support various charities, such as SeaKeepers Foundation and Hope HIV, so if you haven’t tried their mixer range yet, there are many good reasons why you should…
I have stressed this before: when you order a spirit and mixer it is good to keep in mind the mixer is normally two-thirds of the whole drink, which means the impact on the taste of your drink is significant. This is especially important if you tend to use slimline tonics, as artificial sweeteners often compromise the taste of the actual spirit. Premium mixers can enhance the drink. Even amongst the premium mixers there are differences in aromas, water sources, the fizziness…
Don’t be shy to ask for your preferred mixers by name! (And just so you know, Llanllyr sounds something like “Clan-Clear”…)
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Llanllyr Source, but, as always, all words and opinions are my own.