If you love a good old fashioned G&T, you might not realise that there is a whole world of gin mixers out there for you to try that don’t rely on this classic concoction.
Of course you need to choose your mixer carefully, because gin is a uniquely flavoured spirit and it is best to pair it with something that will enhance its natural notes, rather than clashing with them or swamping them outright.
Gin mixer recommendations can range from the sublime to the ridiculous, which is no bad thing given that gin is so popular at the moment and plenty of people will have various types of the spirit at home to test out for themselves. You should keep your own tastes and preferences in mind when ranking any prospective gin mixers, although it is also fun to roll the dice and take a chance on something that is not necessarily normal.
So rather than falling into the habit of only pairing your spirit of choice with tonic, or rushing to slam any old addition into your glass, why not try one of these common mixers for gin which can bring it to life in new and exciting ways?
Not often ranked as a popular mixer for gin, the sharp yet sweet juice of a pineapple is an excellent stable mate for the UK’s favourite spirit.
What makes pineapple juice different to other fruit juice mixers is the acidity it brings to bear on gin’s juniper-infused flavours. It also has an undeniably tropical underpinning which is a favourite flavour of many people.
Pairing one or two measures of your favourite dry gin with a healthy 125ml glug of pineapple juice will be perfect for summer afternoon sipping in the garden. Just remember to use plenty of ice to bring down the temperature and preferably keep the juice refrigerated before pouring.
In an age of flavoured spirits, gin mixers might seem slightly redundant. However, there is always something to be gained by taking control of proceedings yourself and dictating the kinds of tastes your tongue is exposed to through experimentation, rather than settling for the manufacturer’s pre-made combos.
Pink lemonade provides plenty of character as part of a simple gin cocktail, giving you the bubbly tingle of a traditional tonic in addition to a little more sweetness to take the edge off the spirit. Furthermore the floral flavours of pink lemonade compliment the botanicals of high quality gin, which is eminently appealing.
Ginger is a feisty and ferocious ingredient in many contexts, yet there is no need to worry about whether or not it will work well when married with gin. In fact it is arguably one of the best gin mixers if you are looking for something to take the edge off a flavoured gin.
What gives ginger beer, or a ginger ale for that matter, the edge over other mixers in this context is its spicing. It is definitely not fruity or floral, so it will work in tandem with any standard or flavoured gin rather than fighting against those tastes.
This is not something that many would consider, but common mixers for gin share one key element; fizz. If you want a stripped back experience of the gin you are drinking, it therefore makes sense to keep the bubbles without overlaying additional flavours on top of the distiller’s intended experience.
Tonic water may seem like a fairly neutral option, but it actually has quite a distinctive taste and so can easily be substituted for a sparkling water of your choice. Natural sparkling water varieties are arguably the best bet for gin purists, as they offer a finer fizz than their artificially carbonated cousins.
Gin and vodka share the same origins, so why not make a British equivalent of a Bloody Mary by adding gin to tomato juice? It is sure to be a hit whether you have it in the evening or as hair of the dog to fix your hangover.
This can be enjoyed as a simple combination, but if you really want to go the whole hog we recommend including a dash of Tabasco, a stick of celery and a tiny squeeze of lime juice. Pop in a twist of pepper if you are feeling especially adventurous and see whether this quick and easy cocktail takes your fancy.
Prosecco is quickly eclipsing champagne as the UK’s favourite fizz, in no small part thanks to its ravishing relationship with gin. Once again the bubbles and the botanicals join forces to leave your mouth tingling pleasantly.
You can make an off-beat take on the French 75 by mixing gin with prosecco, although it is better to opt for a simple dry gin in this instance, rather than selecting a more complex craft equivalent. Indeed this prosecco pairing could be the perfect way to enjoy more affordable gin that may have been clogging up your drinks cabinet for a while.
Slinging a decent dose of cider into a glass with some gin will lead to joyous results. It may be tempting to avoid any risks and choose a basic cider for this purpose; however, if you push the boat out and plump for a premium cider then you will definitely not be disappointed.
Cider is a popular mixer for gin in some parts of the country but there is still a long way to go to spread the message about its benefits and make it a national craze. Even more sweetness can be included if you pop in simple sugar syrup, offset by a few drops of lemon juice to avoid being overpowered.
Obviously we are not recommending that you add gin to a piping hot cup of freshly brewed Earl Grey tea. Instead this most unusual of gin mixers needs to be made ahead of time and left in the fridge to cool down significantly.
After the Earl Grey is suitably chilled, it can be added to a cocktail shaker and mixed with gin over ice in this context. The famously floral brew will be a wonderful companion to the botanical notes of high quality craft gin, so give this one a go if you love a cuppa with a twist.
Purists might roll their eyes or reel back in disgust at the suggestion of mixing gin with any kind of cola. This is a shame, because if you get your pairing right you will have access to something a little bit special that will help you overcome any snobbery.
Clearly the complication created by cola is that it is quite a strong, sweet flavour. More robust spirits like whisky and vodka tend to fare better in this context, while cola remains a less popular mixer for gin as a result.
Because of this, you need to choose a dry gin and ideally mix it with a cola that has flavours at the fruitier end of the spectrum. A cherry cola is perhaps the best example of this, giving the gin a little more room to breathe and express itself.
So there you have it, an examination of common mixers for gin that are not tonic, along with a few of the less usual pairings that could give you pause for thought or even lead you to discover your new favourite drink.
While tonic is unlikely to lose out to one of these rivals as gin’s most popular mixer, it is never too late to try something new and see where your imagination takes you when you are creating your next gin cocktail.
Whichever mixer you choose, it is always best to make sure that you serve the drink ice cold. At room temperature, many of the mixers and the flavours they possess will lack impact and could be actively off-putting, whereas the difference made by being a few degrees chillier will be tangible.
Another thing to keep in mind is that different gins work well with different mixers, as touched upon briefly above. If a gin has been carefully crafted with a bevy of exotic botanicals, choosing a less domineering mixer is ultimately the right choice. If a gin is more basic, you can stretch yourself and test the waters with more outlandish mixers without putting anything on the line.