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August 16, 2020

My Fever-Tree Tonic Adventure

Fever-Tree tonics has proven to me just why ingredients do matter. A few weeks back I was offered the opportunity to sample some of the company’s prestigious tonics. Owing to the fact that we were unknowingly about to enter into round two of a nation-wide alcohol ban, I had no idea just how much of a blessing this would turn out to be.

My package arrived in a beautifully crafted wooden box; I should have guessed by the weight alone that I was in for a real treat. Despite the generous layers of bubble wrap and decorating papers, the tantalizing fruity aromas from the box’s hidden contents still managed to find its way through the packaging and into my nostrils. I was drooling. Being the self-proclaimed gin connoisseur that I am, I was beyond excited for this unique experience, and to finally put my bartending capabilities to the test. I have had very few encounters with the South African craft gin scene, but something inside of me knew this was going to be epic. My excitement grew as I pulled away from the golden ribbon that kept the box sealed and took a look inside.

My nose was met by a tropical waft that left my taste buds tingling. Inside, carefully placed beneath layers of packaging papers was a collection of different gins, a range of various tonics; each with its own unique flavour and mixing requirements, and finally, a selection of fresh fruits and spices just to add to the opulence of the drinking experience. My grin stretched the full length of my face, and I had no idea where to begin (what an amazing problem to have am I right).

After carefully sifting through the contents, I came across a mixing guide, breaking down all the steps I had to take, and the best combination of ingredients to use in order to get the most out off each beverage. It took me no more than 20 minutes from the time of receiving the packaging to mixing my first drink. “Let the (drinking) games begin!” I hear my inner voice cry out in delight as I followed the instructions of the mixing guide’s first beverage, the Rooibos Gin and Indian Tonic.

Rooibos Gin and Indian Tonic

Being my first choice, I put in my best effort to remove all forms expectation in order to have a fully objective opinion. Yet, regardless of these efforts, any expectations I may have had before were immediately blown right away. The drink was perfectly light and smooth. The gin itself possessed hints of sweet almond and rooibos and was excellently paired with a mild tonic, creating a sensation of flavours. For an extra citrusy touch, I added a few orange slices, as I took a seat back and kicked up my feet. “Aaaah” my inner voice gently sighed out, as I sank deeper into relaxation.

Kalahari Truffles & Refreshingly Light Tonic:

The description lies in the name. This beautiful combination was refreshing, light and absolutely delicious. I tried my best to pace the best I could, not wanting to bring this experience to an end anytime soon, but it was not long before my taste buds craved another mouth-watering encounter. The Kalahari Truffle gin is beautifully paired with Fever Tree’s “Refreshingly Light” tonic water, garnish this blend with Naartjie zest and a sprig of thyme or rosemary. If I had to describe this combination using just one word it would be SENSATIONAL.

Next up, was my personal favourite, the Fynbos Gin with Aromatic tonic:

This drink was sweet and delicate with spicy undertones. I had never before encountered such a well-blended rush of flavour, and my taste buds thanked me with every relaxed sip I took. The gin’s prominent scent and flavour paired perfectly with Fever Tree’s aromatic tonic; a gently blended beverage with hints of pimento berries and ginger. To top things off, I garnished my drink with a sprig of fynbos and half a handful of sour figs. The result was an eruption of flavour, that left me wishing I was sent more than just one 50ml bottle. Nonetheless, this is definitely something I could see myself buying again in the future. I took a seat on my balcony and watched the sun begin to set over the distant hills, with a glass in hand and not a care in the world. Perfect tranquillity.

I felt the need to take some time off for this gin-tasting journey. I was aware that the opportunity was rare and that it may be some time until the next one came about, so I wanted to enjoy this for as long as I could. I lasted 2 days. Yes, two days before something inside me was practically begging that I finish what I started. How could I say no? Momma didn’t raise any quitter. Promptly finishing whatever work I had, I made way towards the kitchen, instinctively, my feet drifted towards the wooden box that occupied the space between my stove and microwave. Let’s see what was on the menu today.

Buchu Gin & Mediterranean Tonic:

Trying to be as strategic as I possibly could, I knew full well that I only had two gins left. After reading the description for both drinks I decided that this one best suited my mood at the time. The Buchu is a healing South African herb, I had never before heard of such a plant but did not doubt that anything with “healing” in its description could bring about anything but good. The drink was a delightful surprise; sweet, fruity and with an incomparable spicey aroma and earthy, mint-like taste. The Gin is perfectly paired with Fever-Tree’s herbaceous Mediterranean tonic. I closed my eyes to take a sip and wished myself onto a private boat somewhere in the Maldives, this is where imagined a beverage of this nature should belong In order to extract the drink’s full flavour, I garnished it with a sprig of Rosemary and Juniper Berries. It was nothing short of pure bliss.

Last but certainly not least was the Honeybush Gin & Elderflower Tonic:

This drink competed very closely with the Fynbos for the title of my favourite. I was determined to wait as long as I could before bringing this gin-tasting journey to a complete end, and it was just over two weeks before I finally gave in to my desires and mixed myself the final glass. Atop some bed of ice, I poured in the Honeybush Gin and Fever-Tree’s Elderflower tonic. Garnishing my drink with a few grapefruit slices and sprigs of thyme, I made myself comfortable as the day drew to an end. Every sip was delicate, with a subtle sweetness, and a lingering aftertaste of florals and honey. Magnifique.

All in all, the experience has left me completely satisfied. This rollercoaster of flavour is definitely something I hope to experience again in the near future. I can now confidently claim my title as the self-proclaimed gin-connoisseur I once pictured myself as. However, Fever-Tree has now made things a bit harder for me, as from now on I don’t believe that I’ll be able to drink anything but the best.

Thank you, Fever-Tree, for showing exactly why INGREDIENTS MATTER!

Written by Tré Delange for Luxuria Lifestyle South Africa

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