Don’t you just love the word “effervescent?”
Such a poetic way to describe the state of little carbonated bubbles popping. It makes such a lovely sound, those bubbles, especially when dueting with the “crack!” of ice cubes melting in a highball glass. You see the beads of condensation forming at the sides. Then there’s the gurgle of good gin poured over the ice. The bubbles of tonic water effervesce (the verb is good too, isn’t it?) as they meet their friends in the glass. The squeeze of lime to balance it out. So hot out. So thirsty. You reach for the drink, put it to your lips, now seconds away from refreshing that poor, parched palate of yours.
You take the sip.
And then you want to dump the whole lot out. What looked and sounded so good on the outside manages to taste simultaneously too sweet and too bitter. You are not refreshed. You are angry. And probably still sweaty and thirsty.
Cinchona trees (a.k.a. “fever trees”) in the Congo
That’s what happens when good gin meets bad tonic. What for the longest time was the only kind available, the stuff from the bar soda gun, or the cheap plastic bottle, thus ruining a great drink. Putting good gin in sub-par tonic is like drowning good Scotch or bourbon in Coke. Don’t argue. Yes, it’s the same thing.
Thankfully, people like Charles Rolls, formerly of Plymouth Gin, and Tim Warrilow of East India Company, understood the world needed better options for tonic and other mixers. Rolls and Warrilow knew guns were the enemy, and not just in terms of firearms. In 2005 they founded Fever-Tree on the premise that “high quality spirits deserve a high quality mixer.” They are produced with natural botanicals and flavors, made to compliment spirits, not overpower them. The company is named for the Cinchona tree, on which quinine, long used to combat malaria, is grown. Quinine is also the main ingredient for tonic water, first used by British troops stationed in India in the 1800s. What was meant as a genuine cure all soon became a recreational drink.
Provence countryside, where herbs and botanicals for Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic are grown
Fever-Tree has been available now for some time, and has caught on well in many markets – embraced by everyone from craft bartenders, restaurants, and home aficionados. Well-researched ingredients for Fever-Tree are sourced from locations around the globe to provide optimal flavors and balance. The core offering is the Premium Indian Tonic, as well as subtle variations of Ginger Ale (made with three types of ginger from the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and India), Ginger Beer, Bitter Lemon and Club Soda.
New mixers are available now. The Mediterranean Tonic water is a more feminine, softer version of a classic dry tonic. Herbs such as lemon-thyme and rosemary are sourced from Provence and Sicily, combined with citrus, cane sugar and quinine. It has a delicate, subtle floral aroma and flavor which is an excellent complement to more aromatic versions of gin such as Berkshire Mountain Distillers Ethereal Gin, Greenhook Ginsmith, Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill or Ford’s Gin.
There is also a Naturally Light Tonic Water. It has only forty calories per serving and is sweetened with stevia. Perfect for those who want a low-cal beverage without the toxins found in most diet drinks.
But back to you. Back to summer. It’s sweltering and you’ve been out all day in the heat, sweat pooling in places you didn’t know you had. The ice is waiting in your highball. You add that beautiful gin. You pop the cap on that bottle of Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic, and listen to the delicate bubbles effervesce, calling to you. You squeeze that lime. You bring the drink to your lips, take a sip. And you smile.