When Fever-Tree Tonic Water was released in the U.S. in 2007, I was excited and, subsequently impressed. It was (and still is) one of the best tonics produced: crisp, clean, and natural quinine that produces the best Gin and Tonic you will ever have.
Over the years the company has developed new and even more interesting soda waters. The complete line follows the original ideals of the brand and not one of them is disappointing when it comes to making fine mixed drinks. With two recent additions, the line now includes three styles of tonic, three ginger sodas, two lemons, and a club soda. Each is as magnificent as the whole and by adding these to our drinks, an entirely new level of highballs is reached.
If you have been under the impression that tonic water is just tonic water, Fever-Tree's trio of tonics will quickly change your mind. They now produce Premium Indian Tonic Water, Naturally Light Indian Tonic Water, and Mediterranean Tonic Water, each with a unique profile and all using high-quality quinine sourced from the Cinchona (or 'fever') tree in East Congo.
The trick to developing a great tonic is in the balance of flavors. Quinine is a product of the Cinchona tree's bark, which is harvested on an eight-year cycle. It is the source for that bitter kick in tonic water, and to have a successful tonic it must be counteracted by other ingredients. In the case of Fever Tree's tonics, citrus and sugars are sent in to do the job. When the recipe is right, a nice tonic is born and this is what we find here.
Premium Indian Tonic Water
My previous thoughts published in the review have not wavered, in fact, every drink of this tonic continues to surprise me with its fresh floral, snappy citrus, and perfect bitterness. I continue to think of it as the best tonic water available, and if there was ever a reason for anyone to start drinking Gin & Tonics, this is it. Even in a non-alcoholic drink like a Lime & Tonic (again, an obvious drink), this tonic opens the lime up and the drink shines with depth and magnitude that no other soda can touch. While this tonic screams to be paired with gin, it does a fabulous job with other light spirits as well.
Naturally Light Indian Tonic Water
The citrus, sweet, and bitter in Fever-Tree's flagship tonic is here, but it comes with an added bonus of having just 40 calories per serving. Never a fan of 'lite' or 'diet' soda versions, I was delighted to find all of the flavors here, no artificial sweetener used only for the cutting of calories. No, this lightweight has a full aroma, a delicate mix of botanicals, and that clean, crisp taste I have come to love in these premium sodas.
Mediterranean Tonic Water
This tonic was designed with the vodka drinker in mind, and Fever-Tree has done it, they made the Vodka Tonic something to celebrate. This tonic uses essential oils of flowers, fruit, and herbs from the Mediterranean, including lemon thyme and rosemary from Provence. What a lovely tonic this is. There are a few other ways to describe it. It is delicate, balanced, distinctly floral, and less dry. While I prefer the previous tonics for gin, I think the right gin would have to be found for this tonic - maybe Hendrick's or G'Vine - but when it comes to vodka, this tonic nails it. The delicacy of this tonic also makes me think that it could easily be a substitute for lemon-lime or club sodas in many instances. If the dry and bitter aspects of tonic throw you off, give this one a try.
Fever-Tree Ginger Sodas
Fever-Tree produces two ginger sodas: Ginger Ale and Ginger Beer. In keeping with their quality tonics, these gingers are some of the best you will find. Again, all ingredients are natural, with three different gingers playing integral roles in both. From the Ivory Coast, green ginger is used to add lightness and surprising notes of lime. The Nigerian ginger is intense and complex in both flavor and aroma, and the ginger sourced from Cochin, India is earthy with these intriguing notes that resemble chocolate. These are not your typical ginger sodas, they are ginger soda redefined.
This ginger ale is snappy and sweet. Where ginger ales tend to be sweet or dry, this one finds a balance and one has to attribute that to the varieties of ginger and cane sugar used. Added to the complexity are these sweet citrus notes that are that finishing touch needed to complete this liquid masterpiece. This is a ginger ale to dedicate to your Highballs and drinks with other dark spirits as the ginger opens up the whiskey's natural notes, brightening them up in a way few other ginger ales can touch.
Snappy, sweet, and a ginger beer that will not melt into the background, this is Fever-Tree's Ginger Beer. The brew is bold, but not overpowering; spicy, but not bitterly so. It shows ginger at its best and begs to be in your next Dark & Stormy and Moscow Mule. It is one that will embolden rums, whiskeys, and other dark spirits. There is also now a Light Ginger Beer available.
Other Fever-Tree Sodas
To round out the Fever-Tree line, we have two more sodas to explore and I promise that both are as interesting as those above.
Though it may seem to be a simple mixer, it is hard to find a club soda that makes you step back and take notice. This one does just that. Club soda can be very boring, but this one is not. The soft spring water and bicarbonate of soda create a delicate background, and the effervescence is unique due to Fever-Tree's 'signature Champagne bubbles.' This is a delicate soda with the most subtle of citrus and floral notes, it is delightfully clean and refreshing and can go into any cocktail calling for it. If Fever-Tree Club Soda were as widely available as the likes of Schweppes and Canada Dry, the world would know what great club soda really is.
Here we have a unique creation: a bitter soda flavored with quinine and lemon. It is unlike anything else I have found on the market and a welcome addition to soda options. The famous lemons of Sicily are used here, bringing a bright, tart, awakening into any drink. It was designed for use with light spirits such as vodka, and the innate profile allows it to find a place in both lemon-lime soda drinks and those that warrant a light tonic-like soda. It is interesting beyond belief and my only regret is that I have so few bottles on hand to experiment with it fully.
The newest U.S. release, this is one that I have not personally tasted. However, if it holds up to the quality of the rest of the line, it should be a good option for drinks calling for either plain or lemon-lime soda.
- Premium soda waters produced with all-natural ingredients, including Tonic Water, Naturally Light Tonic Water, Mediterranean Tonic Water, Club Soda, Bitter Lemon, Ginger Ale, and Ginger Beer.
- Available in 36 countries (as of September 2012).
- Imported to the U.S. by Brands of Brittain, LLC.
- Retails for around $5.99/200ml 4-pack or $2.99/500ml bottle.
- Buy Fever-Tree Sodas at Amazon
- Visit their website: Fever-Tree.com
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.