Cigar Aficionado

Mixing on a New Level

It was bound to happen. The new cocktail culture has been driven by improving ingredients: better spirits, freshly squeezed fruit juices, etc. Now someone has jumped in with “artisinal mixers.” No more store-brand tonic water or ginger ale for Charles Rolls, the former owner of Plymouth Gin. He went out and formed Fever-Tree to ratchet up the quality of high-ball ingredients. Included in his portfolio are bitter lemon, club soda, ginger ale and tonic water.

Haven’t tried the soda or the ginger ale yet, but the tonic and bitter lemon are winners. Lots of out-front taste notes—quinine, coriander, lime, orange in the tonic, lemon, orange, quinine and other botanicals in the bitter lemon.

The name Fever-Tree comes not from the ‘60s rock group that sang “San Francisco Girls,” but from another name for the cinchona tree, which is the original and best source of quinine. Quinine, of course, has been used since the Roman Empire as a prophylactic treatment for malaria. Apparently Brit colonialists discovered it also went well with gin.

Naturally, this isn’t cheap stuff ($5.99 for a four pack of 200-milliliter—6.76 ounces—bottles), but it’s cool to occasionally take your gin and tonic to the concierge level.