We have a special guest with us today, my father-in-law, so we had 4 people on our tasting panel this time. As before, we tried the tonics on their own, with our vodka and with our Distiller's Gin No. 6 (of course).
What did we think?
Our reviews of Q were mixed. We all liked it with the vodka, but most of us (3 out of 4) did not like it with the gin - it seemed to bury the gin too much and created some off notes on the palate. On its own, it is fresh tasting and light, with a moderate amount of quinine (Schweppes has more).
All of us still really liked the Fever Tree, and we found that when we adjusted the proportions, we could get a bit more of the gin to shine through. It was very fresh tasting, complex and not too sweet. It seems to have a bit more quinine than Q. Everyone ranked it 1st or 2nd with both the vodka and the gin.
With the Stirrings, one of us felt it was too sweet and therefore did not like it. However, two of us liked it best of all the tonics with the gin, loving its fresh citrus notes and its pairing with the gin. The Stirrings was the sweetest of the bunch, and was light on the quinine.
None of us picked the Schweppes as the best. We did like it better than other major market brands when we tried it before, but we like these new brands better.
- Tonic water is a matter of personal taste - they vary on quinine, sweetness and other flavors
- Tonics really do vary, they are not interchangeable
- Tonics perform differently with different spirits, so you have to try them out with what you want to mix with - we picked different tonics as best for different spirits