With the party season upon us there is added pressure to make your alcoholic beverages much more exciting and elaborate. This is a welcome pressure, as when it comes to Christmas and the new year we should be pushing the boat out a little more than usual. For most people this means cocktails, and so it should. The art of making a great cocktail is much more elusive than it would appear, however, and many odd and mildly lethal concoctions often appear.
As a means of ensuring a more pleasant boozy experience the good people at Fentimans produce mixers of the highest quality to ease those cocktail woes. Just in time for the festivities they have launched a new range of 500ml bottles in a variety of exciting, and natural, flavours. The bigger size makes them better for parties or a night in, if you’re like me.
Botanically brewed since 1905
Some of you might be surprised to hear that Fentimans have been producing botanically brewed beverages for over 100 years, I know I was. Each one is botanically brewed for 7 days to create a far superior and naturally flavoured end product. Botanical brewing involves the infusion, blending and fermenting of natural ingredients to create a flavoured drink; and Fentimans have been following the same time honoured tradition since Thomas Fentiman started back in 1905.
Given their links to early 1900’s their branding is very much in keeping with this tradition. This also means that they are fairly on trend now. Their bottles and labels look fantastic and ooze with a sense of style and quality. This would mean nothing if the liquids within were not up to scratch. Luckily for Fentimans they are; as you would hope after a century of practice.
I’ve been a fan of Fentimans for a little while and have always enjoyed their products. Each one I have tried has achieved that strangely elusive quality in other soft drinks of tasting like the thing it says it is. They have a fantastic range of soft drinks, pre-mixed drinks and gluten free alcoholic ginger beer but I am here to talk about their mixers.
The range includes a variety of classic and flavoured tonics, a gin lover’s delight, two traditional lemonades and finally a ginger beer with muddled lime. Each helpfully comes with a suggestion as what best it will mix with, which is a nice touch, to assist with your enjoyment.
Let the magical mixing commence
Let us start with the tonics. I am a massive gin fan, I currently have four different bottles on the go including two “boutique” gins. Gin is the ultimate drink for me, despite my adverse reaction to it (and no I do not mean drunkenness, that’s not adverse), and I love a gin martini. The gin and tonic is the ultimate gin cocktail making the most of its botanicals and too many people settle for poor quality tonics. These tonics are a delight and bring out the best in your quality gins. The naturally light tonic is a revelation with none of that nasty fake sweetness you get with cheaper ones. The grapefruit tonic goes wonderfully with my bottle of Wheadon’s gin with its grapefruit and rock samphire botanicals. If you normally use cheap tonic get some of this, it will infinitely improve your gin experience. The botanical tonic water will lift any standard London dry gin to completely new levels of enjoyment – a real revelation.
Next up are the traditional style lemonades. Again, the beauty in these are the depth of flavour and the difference between the two. First up a punchy bitter lemonade that is fantastically refreshing and packed with sharp lemon. Being a lemonade there is a slightly calming sweetness but not so much you lose the bitter taste you want. The rose lemonade is the other end of the scale with its fragranced subtle notes gently caressing your taste buds. This is an elegant little mixer that I am a big fan of.
Finally, a ginger beer with muddled lime. I am a massive ginger fan and this certainly packs a real ginger kick. It isn’t like some other natural ginger beers that I find lack an exciting spicy edge and it is lovely and sweet. The lime sits in the background giving a sharpness that allows your tongue to enjoy the ginger spice that little bit more. They advise mixing with vodka or spiced rum and I would have to agree, I reckon you could probably mix this with a peaty whiskey as well.
I’ve really enjoyed sampling these Fentimans mixers and they have certainly added some excitement to my gin drinking escapades. During this festive season it is all too easy to get bogged down in sweet and rich foods and drinks, which is no bad thing, but occasionally you want something a little more refreshing. These mixers can turn your booze cabinet into a world of flavour and enjoyment. If you are feeling a little more ambitious than just adding mixer to your spirit of choice, you can also make some lovely long cocktails with them which is what I’ve tried to do.
Here is my cocktail creation inspired by Fentimans rose lemonade.
The Whicker Man
Alan Whicker was a globetrotting journalist and presenter and this is my homage to him. I remember seeing footage of him in the West Indies in a full suit and tie looking exceptionally British and this is the inspiration behind the drink. I have decided to make an English version of the sort of fruity rum based cocktails you might get in this area of the world. I wanted to capture the essence of an English summers day which clearly involves alcohol. I was also really pleased with the name and had to come up with a cocktail to fit.
- Double shot of gin – I’ve used Blackdown Sussex Dry gin because it is great.
- A shot of Cointreau
- A shot of crème de cassis
- Fentimans Rose Lemonade
How to make The Whicker Man
Fill a tall glass with ice before adding the spirits and topping up with Rose lemonade. Drink. I never claimed to be much of an expert mixologist.
The combination of gin and rose is very English with the orange from the Cointreau complementing the rose flavours wonderfully. The cassis further enhances the fruity flavours in the drink adding some more depth. Much more of a summer drink than this time of year but give it a shot and let me know what you think.
For more information about Fentimans Ltd head over to their website or social media using the links below
https://twitter.com/fentimansltd or @fentimansltd
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