On-Trade Progress examines Luscombe Drinks’ mixers and chats perfect pairings.

With the ‘Ginaisannce’ in full swing, craft, boutique and botanical based spirits are now common place and in high demand across all establishments far and wide.

With this high demand ever rising and showing no signs of slowing, a need for a worthy partner to these pieces of liquid art arises. The tonic from the tap no longer quenches their thirst, as more and more customers name a crafted creation as their favoured tipple of choice.

On-Trade Progress assembled our parched tasting panel on a sunny, summer afternoon to solve this conundrum. We hand-picked a range of the nation’s finest spirits and paired them with a range of Luscombe Drinks’ elegant mixers.

Devon Tonic Water – Paired with Whitley Neill’s Rhubarb Vodka

From the first sip, bubbles dance across the palate spreading a beautifully crafted Asian infusion. With Devonshire spring water laying the foundations on a drink that marks where it all began. This tonic water bursts to life with a dynamic duo of bitter Indian Quinine and citrus notes that arise from the rare Japanese Yuzu fruit. As we all know, the key to all good things is balance. There must be a Yin to pair with the Yang and this tonic water is no exception, as these distinct flavours are countered by a touch of raw cane sugar; the perfect bitter-sweet combination, with an added twist to the timeless classic. We recommend this little treasure alongside any white spirit or on its own!

Here’s what the panel had to say about this one:

“The light and more bitter flavours of the tonic really help the overall balance of this drink. With another mixer I think this drink would be too sweet.”

“I’m not really a massive fan of tonic water, but I think I’m going to have to go back on my word… This is fantastic. I’d even enjoy this drink on its own over some ice. Delicious!”

“I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a tonic water quite like this before. It must be down to the Japanese Yuzu. I admit I did have to do a quick Google to find out what it was, but now the citrusy flavours make sense.”

“To be honest, this tonic would take pride of place in my glass. A worthy partner to any great gin.”

“Not just a great taste, but a simply elegant bottle.”

“Distinctive and recognisable packaging.”

Light Devon Tonic Water – Paired with Whitley Neill’s Quince Gin

Crafted with the calorie conscious in mind, this light tonic water boasts the same flavoursome credentials as its sweeter sibling. However, with the clever replacement of the cane sugar with fruit sugar, both calories and sugar content are reduced by over half! Due to this clever innovation, all the fantastic flavours still tantalise the taste buds the same way. The Indian Quinine, Japanese Yuzu and the high carbonation all still form a fantastic tonic. Just lighter! Recommend this to be enjoyed by any customer looking for a guilt-free indulgence with a white spirit or as an equally tasty treat, on its own and over ice.

Here’s what the panel had to say about this one:

“I can instinctively tell this is a light tonic based from the packaging.”

“I think this tonic, being lighter in taste, really allows the flavours of the drink to shine through.”

“The lighter tonic takes away some of the sweetness in comparison to the regular tonic, so I think this drink works better for me as I’m a big fan of dry tasting drinks.”

“A very easy drink, pop me in a nice beer garden with some sun and a big glass of this on ice please!”

Elderflower Tonic Water – Paired with Hendrick’s Gin 

Luscombe’s range takes a wonderfully floral direction with this next instalment as the tonic water sees an infusion with hand-picked wild elderflower. Delicate elderflower aromas and flavours bring extra depth to the base tonic and provide the perfect accent to the spirit it’s partnered with. Interestingly enough, against less superior counterparts, Luscombe’s Elderflower flavours really follow through to the palate to bring a well-rounded and tasty infusion. Sweet, soft and summery. Recommend this to customers looking for the perfect pairing with their choice of floral gin.

Here’s what the panel had to say about this one:

“Bitter or dry drinks aren’t really for me, so the sweetness from the Elderflower means I can really enjoy this drink.”

“I’ve said this with every drink so far and I’ll say it again, alcohol or no alcohol this is delicious!”

“A truly British summer flavour, they’ve really captured it so well. It tastes so natural.”

“Even though it’s such a distinctive flavour, it doesn’t overpower the gin, it just complements it.”

“When you place the bottle amongst the rest of the range, it’s really easy to tell that it’s elderflower.”

Grapefruit Tonic Water – Paired with Edinburgh Gin’s Raspberry Liqueur

Luscombe trades the rare Japanese Yuzu for juicy Grapefruit in this next instalment of its tonic range. The fruit, native to the Caribbean island of Barbados, brings a vibrant and zesty citrus touch to the tonic. The tartness of the fruit will really help to balance out drinks on the sweeter side without overpowering the intended flavours. A really unique flavour will help sculpt a really unique drink. Recommend this to customers ordering a sweeter or flavoured gin to counterbalance and allow them to enjoy a couple more!

“I’ve never heard of a Grapefruit tonic before, but I’m definitely glad I have! It puts such an interesting twist on the spirit.”

“All of these flavours are fantastic. It just tastes so natural and authentic.”

“The grapefruit flavour is easy to recognise and stands out, but doesn’t overpower the drink, it compliments it.”

“A pink label is synonymous with Grapefruit and makes it easy and simple to recognise, even from across the bar.”

“On paper, this sort of mix wouldn’t work… Raspberry and Grapefruit? But my goodness it does. All of us are going crazy for this one and because the sharpness cuts through the sweet, it means I could drink quite a few of these!”

Sicilian Bitter Lemon – Paired with Brockmans Gin   

Luscombe brings its organic still Sicilian Lemonade into the mixer world with a few key additions. The Indian Quinine makes another appearance to add a distinct sharpness and carbonation brings the drink physically to life. A mixer where citrus is king, zesty from head to toe, this mixer is authentic and natural in both appearance and taste. Once again, the optimal balance has been achieved. Put this forward to customers looking for an interesting spin on a hedgerow gin.

“When the description of this gin was given, I wouldn’t think it’d work with so many fruits going on. But you know what? It does work, it really works!”

“I love how this bitter lemon is really cloudy, makes it look so authentic and natural, none of this ‘lemon flavoured’ business.”

“Easy to recognise this flavour from a mile off with the colour choice.”

“The bitter lemon is really fresh tasting, reminds me of how traditional lemonade looks and tastes.”

“This really helps to reduce the gin’s kick for me, not being a massive gin fan, this makes it really enjoyable.”

Lime Crush – Paired with Ketel One Vodka

The second instalment of the cloudy citrus range, the Lime Crush does not disappoint in the slightest, in actuality, it’s the complete opposite. The panel went absolutely mad for this one and couldn’t get enough of it! This modern-day masterpiece is birthed through an amalgamation of organic ingredients. Tangy Sri Lankan lime leads the way, infused by a dose of the vibrant Sicilian lemon juice and finalised by a touch of raw cane sugar which brings the sweet balance against any tartness. An exotic drink which tantalises the taste buds, this beauty can easily be enjoyed on its own, as part of a delicious cocktail/mocktail or with a premium vodka.

“Being a vodka drinker, usually I find my mixer choices limited on a night out, coca cola or lemonade for example. This really transforms a drink, I’ll be keeping me eye out for this next time I’m out.”

“Really refreshing, quite citrussy and not sweet which I like, great for current hot days!

“Apart from lime cordial, I’ve never really found a proper lime mixer and I love lime! An absolute lime lover’s dream!”

“It’s like someone’s just crushed the limes five minutes ago and bottled them straight away, it’s so fresh tasting.”

“Because this is tangier and not overly sweet, it really does increase the drinkability of these!”

Cucumber Tonic Water – Paired with Bath Tub Navy Strength Gin 

Being one of the favourite garnishes to a G&T, one clever soul thought it’d made sense to infuse the cucumber into the tonic itself, and here we are, presented with another wonderfully crafted mixer to add to your bar. With the tonic still built upon the much-adored base ingredients, the addition of the cucumber really adds a lot of potential to this mixer such as room for other creative garnishes to really help the drink to come alive both in terms of flavour and appearance.

“The flavour is so authentic and natural tasting, considering cucumber doesn’t have a particularly strong flavour, it really shines through.”

“This tonic water is perfect for calming the strong alcohol flavours from this gin.”

“A G&T with a cucumber garnish doesn’t actually taste as good or as flavoursome as this G&T.”

“This drink really refreshes the palate.”

“Crisp, clear and distinctive flavour.”

Hot Ginger Beer – Paired with Sailor Jerry Rum 

Feeling hot, hot, hot! This amazingly spicy drink is packed with wonderful root ginger that really heats things up. Slightly hotter than its usual counterpart, this award-winning beverage is a ginger beer to remember for enthusiasts and customers looking to try something new. Lemon juice and oil give crucial citrus notes, with the raw cane sugar helping the sweetness along. This is for those looking to really spice things up. Recommend this with a spiced rum or a rhubarb gin.

“Wow this is a real warmer! Would be a lovely drink for a cold winters night.”

“I love the mixture of spices in these drinks, the spice from the rum and ginger beer complement each other perfectly.”

“Fantastic flavour; very distinctive.”

“I’d say that on its own, this ginger beer is up there, if not better than many big-name brands I’ve tried previously.”

“This would go amazingly with a summer BBQ.”

Devon Soda Water – Paired with Jim Beam

Our last drink that the panel got to try is Luscombe’s Devon Soda Water. A wonderfully simple drink made with the finest ingredients selected to provide a crisp, clear mixer where the Devonshire spring water plays such an important part. Due to the purity of the spring water, the Soda Water has no aroma as it should do and has a silky-smooth texture. Perfect for mixing with a fine whisky or vodka.

“Tastes very pure, no artificial flavours coming through at all.”

“Being a whisky enthusiast, I was sure to taste the whisky alone beforehand and I can definitively say that it really brings out the best qualities of the spirit.”

“The Soda Water really helps the whiskies aromas and flavours to come alive.”

“I’ll definitely be ordering one of these to accompany my next whisky on the rocks.”