Who doesn’t love a gin and tonic every now and again?! Those that follow me and subscribe to this site will know that I definitely do!
But have you ever wondered why sometimes the drink you enjoy at home, just isn’t the same as the one you had at that fancy bar the week before?!
The simple answer is ‘garnish’. It’s not just there to make the drink look pretty, it also enhances that enjoyment of it, so much so that each gin company will usually come up with their very own signature serve.
A ‘signature serve’ will usually be a recommended tonic (Sometimes plain and sometimes flavoured), along with a particular garnish. The reason for this is actually quite simple. Each gin is distilled with various botanicals (although Juniper must be present for it to be gin), which the chosen botanicals bringing something different to the party, be it Spice (sweet or savoury), Herbal, Citrus, Fruit or Floral.
A garnish is chosen carefully to either compliment or balance out the botanicals within the gin itself, however with so many different gins out there (The Gin Guide lists 412 recommended gin garnishes), do we really have the ability to keep all these fresh garnishes at home?!
Up steps Butler and Brewer, who have produced a range of Tonic Enhancers, which are designed to be added to your tonic to bring that extra element to your drink, without the need of loads of different garnishes.
Made with 100% natural flavourings, these are not a cordial, but real essence to add that extra angle to any drink, much in the same way as a slice of fruit or some added spice would bring.
With 5 different options of enhancer available, I decided to try them all out with tonic and then tried to pair them with gins that I believe they would compliment.
First up was a gin that I have recently reviewed called Big 7 Gin – with its lemongrass, grapefruit and bay botanicals, the Orange, Thyme and Lemongrass enhancer seemed perfect.
Adding a few drops of this enhancer is all it takes, remember you aren’t looking to flavour the gin, but instead give it a slight edge. The botanical used in the gin and enhancer worked seamlessly, giving it an even more depth of flavour and complexity. The colour of the enhancer might make you think it is a string orange flavour, however it bought about the same addition as a slice of real orange in the drink.
Next up it was the turn of Elderflower, Cucumber and Apple, which to me shouted out Hendricks.
With the 3 drops of enhancer added to the gin, I top with tonic and the fresh aroma or cucumber appeared, just as if I had just cut a few slices right in front of me.
There is no sweetness to the enhancer, its as if they have captured the natural oils within the fruits perfectly.
Another gin that I reviewed not to long ago and loved was Atlantic Spirit Thai Basil. The herb element is so bold that I thought it a perfect gin to try out the equally bold Rosemary, Mint and Lemon.
With the Rosemary there but in the background, the Mint and Lemon elevated this already gorgeous drink to a new level of freshness.
The Raspberry, Basil and Lime enhancer got me thinking. Maybe a Brockman’s with its fruity element, but then a spotted the perfect partner.
Kirkjuvagr Beyla is one of very few Old Tom gins that I really enjoy and with its honey and raspberry was a perfect partner.
I cannot overly stress how the enhancers brings a real added dimension to the gins, without taking anything away from them and still allowing the complexity within the gins themselves shine.
All of the gins I have used are fantastic in their own right, but there is something about adding the fresh element of garnish to them. Brewer and Butler tonic enhancers really do manage to recreate that subtle freshness with a few drops added to the gin.
Só I am left with one enhancer to try. Hibiscus, Lime and Pomegranate. So back comes the Brockman’s, another great gin that can stand up to some strong flavours. The Lime element is the most prominent in this enhancer and is like adding a fresh lime peel to the drink whilst also adding a hint of earthiness from the Hibiscus.
I have to be honest and say that when I first came across the tonic enhancers from Butler and Brewer, I thought these might be cordial like or takeaway from the enjoyment of a G&T and now I can admit to being very very wrong!
These little bottles of captured freshness bring joy to any drink. You only need the tiniest amount and they last 6 months after opening, so you can get plenty of use out of them. The only real dilema is which will you choose to try first?
Butler and Brewer Tonic Enhancers are available to purchase through their website here priced at just £15 for a 100ml bottle (That’s enough for 100 drinks, that’s 15p per drink)
Disclaimer:- Brewer and Butler Tonic Enhancers were sent to me as a PR sample to try and review. The thoughts and opinions are those solely of Manchester Food Tourist.