We’re all interested in working out what will be the next big thing. Especially those of you in the on-trade . You want to be with the game or possibly ahead of the game.
I think that the next big thing in cocktails and premium serves will be mixers. Yes honestly. We’ve seen a lot of developments in the field of spirits and to a lesser extent liqueurs. The development of gin and the huge number of entrants to the market has made the previously straightforward gin & tonic into an artform. But all the development has been on the spirits. 5 years ago, a Gordons and Schweppes tonic about covered it.
However the new wave is coming. Arguably Fevertree can claim the credit for getting it going. And they’ve grown rapidly on the back of this. 71% sales growth in 2015 is a growth most businesses would give their right arm for (well maybe not literally, but you take the point.)
Fevertree’s success (and you may be surprised to know they’ve been trading for 10 years, I was) shows that customers are interested in the other 75% of their gin and tonic. And why not? It’s time that mixers caught up with the development of their higher-profile spirit partners.
For me Britvic and Schweppes should be leading the development. They’ve both been very slow to respond to changing market trends. Monoliths caught with their proverbials down perhaps? But they’re on the march. Well Britvic is certainly. As recently as June 2016 they launched a new ‘incubator’ division Wisehead Productions to innovate. So look out for their first creation Thomas & Evans which is being marketed as a ‘zero proof’ drink rather than a soft drink – part of an emerging category of non-alcoholic products made using the same processes as alcoholic ones. The description of their first release Thomas & Evans No. 1 is ……
It’s made from a blend of three green fruit juices that’s charcoal-filtered then combined with 20 distillates of both botanicals and fruit. It’s lightly sparkling and decidedly fragrant, with aromas of peardrops, elderflower and candied ginger. It’s a dry but fruity affair on the palate, with notes of anise and ginger, and more elderflower.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? This innovation is good to see and to be encouraged.
Up to now, mixers generally referred to something that was either very sweet, or fruity, or often both. Perhaps they’re growing up at last.
I’m already experimenting with a great range of mixers and particularly tonics, from Peter Spanton and Double Dutch as well as the growing range from Fever Tree and Fentimans. And there is a high probability that you won’t have seen these products. But hopefully you soon will.
So get bizzy with the fizzy, or lightly carbonated or still and push the boundaries of the humble spirit and mix. Done well, they’re great drinks. Read another article on the importance of new mixers
Work in Progress I’m also keen to try experimenting with Pedrino. This is a lightly alcoholic tonic (5.5% ABV) and is made with a combination of sherry and tonic.