Hansen’s Tonic comes in the perfect sized can for a really tall Gin and Tonic – so immediately it gets points there. It has an attractive bright appearance, invoking a certain bright “citrusy” feeling right from the outset. This seems appropriate, as Hansen’s tonic has two important points of difference when looking at its ingredients:
One, sugar instead of corn syrup. This is an important point of difference in the American market where most tonics opt for the high fructose corn syrup and the syrupy taste it imparts. Sugar is a little bit sharper, but equally as sweet.
Two, it adds citrus extracts right into the tonic syrup. This makes it somewhat palatable on its own, more akin to a bitter, only very slightly orange flavored soda. It’s a nice touch, but not one which really makes or breaks it in a drink.
The citrus does add some nice notes, and helps with a) gins which don’t have strongly citrus notes or b) gins where you might not have added a dash of lemon or lime anyway. But if you’re the kind of person who prefers their gin and tonics without citrus, this might not be the right tonic for you.
The bitterness is mild and not as sharp as other tonics out there. It’s there at the end, but much less so. I’d posit that Hansen’s is using a little less quinine than their competitors.
Overall, it’s nothing particularly special. It has some nice qualities. It’s quaffable on its own. It uses real sugar and has a sharper more focused flavor. But unlike some of the more prominent high quality tonics, it lacks a more sophisticated profile. It’s more fountain soda than it is a high quality mixer. And that’s fine, because sometimes this is exactly what you need. And if you’re looking for a supermarket tonic, you could do much worse than this. Overall, I think it gets the job done, but is nothing special. I’d suggest if you are an avid drinker of G&T – you’re probably going to like this if you want that dash of citrus without cutting a fruit. You’re probably not going to like this if you’re looking for a drier, more bitter tonic.
Price: Pack of 24 for $15
Best consumed: Make a good gin and tonic for fans of sweeter American type tonics and adding a hint of citrus with just pouring tonic water.
Rating: Not outstanding, but not bad. Among standard supermarket brands, I’d prefer Hansen’s, but there are better options out there for ardent fans of gin and tonics.