Personally, I prefer my tequila neat or with a little bit of club soda. Tequila and tonic water may not be my jam— but is is the inspiration for Fever Tree’s first tonic water designed specifically around a single brand and spirit. Fever Tree Citrus Tonic Water was designed in collaboration with Patrón and intended to be paired with Patrón Silver.
It has been created to “revolutionise consumer thinking when it comes to a Tequila and tonic”. [The Spirits Business, September 2018]
However, intention aside— gin and tonic is such a natural pairing that I wanted to see how Fever Tree Citrus Tonic Water worked with gin instead.
Firstly, Fever Tree Citrus Tonic uses a blend of citrus fruits: bitter orange, Mexican lime and tangerine. Alike Fever Tree’s other offerings, this is sweetened only with real sugar and comes in at 70 calories per 200 mL serving. Other ingredients include citric acid and quinine.
Poured, there’s a rollicking effervescence. Fever Tree Citrus Tonic Water has an intensely citrus-forward nose. Key lime highlights the initial aroma; however, it quickly settles into Mandarin, tangerine and earthy lemon pith. It’s a beautiful citrus forward nose. In terms of aroma, it is comparably to the power of Fever Tree Elderflower, and much clearer than Fever Tree’s Mediterranean tonic water.
Sipped, Fever Tree Citrus Tonic Water is somewhat sweeter than others. The melange of citrus is part of that, with especially the sweet orange intensifying that early.
Where it really shines from a citrus perspective is in the back half. Bitter orange notes begin to emerge at the same time as a slight tartness from the citric acid and the quinine. The bitterness is mild, but evident.
Fever Tree Citrus Tonic Water is nice as an adult soda with some added complexity. Even if you don’t pair it with spirits, it’s an enjoyable product.
Fever Tree Citrus Tonic Water and Tonic
As a mixer, it seems to impart a bit more sweetness. While this might be nice with a bracing tequila or vodka, the flavors do overpower some gins just a bit. Furthermore, gins with some sweetness already (Barr Hill, New Amsterdam or Hendrick’s Midsummer) may become cloying.
Given the brand’s posturing, this seems intentional. Gin drinkers mixing with it should consider intense, juniper forward gins or single-note gins to round out with citrus. However, just keep in mind this tonic tends towards being the star, so mix judiciously— or dial the tonic back in your next G&T.
Overall, Fever Tree Citrus Tonic Water
Delicious and fun, while not designed with gin in mind it works well with classic and bargain price gins. It elevates and adds authentic botanical complexity. In that regard, this mixer truly can elevate the most humble gin.
But mixing it with strong, flavorful gins can be an exercise in moderation. Or perhaps like a Gladiatorial competition with two strong competitors battling for your palate. It’s fun, but to some it might just be extra.