I’m pretty sure Schweppes tonic has been around since the dawning of time, well, 1871 if we’re being precise. That was when they marketed Schweppes Indian Tonic – the first carbonated tonic. I will always think fondly of Schweppes Indian Tonic as it reminds me of my Papa. He loved a G&T, so there was always a crate of Schweppes in the garage and a bottle of Gordon’s in the cupboard, he didn’t trust anything else!! Unsurprisingly, at the age of 5, neither of these options appealed to me, but I distinctly remember the Schweppes as I had to clamber over it to get to the bottles of Orangina!!
For many, many years, Schweppes tonic was the only option in most bars and pubs, but since the recent Gindustrial Renaissance the mixer market has become saturated with alternative options. While Schweppes was still commonly available in many venues, it wasn’t necessarily always the go to option for punters, often being met with a bit of a nose wrinkle.
In late 2017, the Schweppes brand was given not only a bit of a facelift, but they also introduced a new line of mixers designed to appeal to this new generation of mixer drinkers.
“In our latest quest to explore the newest trends and to excite the more adventurous, we worked with liquor architects and drink alchemists to create Schweppes 1783”
November 2017 saw the launch of Schweppes 1783, a range which included six innovative new flavour combinations; cucumber tonic water, salty lemon tonic water, crisp tonic water, Light tonic water, floral tonic water and ginger ale. I was a little slow to this party, and only tried my first gulp of the crisp tonic water in February this year, but it most definitely piqued my interest.
To drink, it feels like Schweppes 1783 contains smaller bubbles, but that there are more of them. It certainly gives a lovely fizz on the tongue.
There was much excitement when my taster set arrived, complete with some other 1783 goodies.
Now it was time for the fun part, the experimenting. There was a handy little booklet, with some suggested serves included with my taster set, which is designed to appeal to the masses…not just for us gin drinkers.
I started off with a recommendation from Gaz Jones, he’s the Spirit Brand Engagement Ambassador for Schweppes GB & Coca-Cola. He suggested combining the Salty Lemon Tonic with the new Malfy Gin Rosa, so I did. He wasn’t wrong, the grapefruit flavours of the gin and the lemon of the tonic were a beautiful compliment to each other, creating a drink which is most definitely somewhat reviving in the current heatwave. I think it’s probably important to mention that this salty lemon shouldn’t be confused with bitter lemon as the flavours really are quite different. The feeling left in your mouth is far more sherbety which teams very well with the similar sherbet feel of the grapefruit in the Malfy Gin Rosa.
Next I decided to give the ginger ale a go, and as I’ve explained on many an occasion before, I’m really not a huge fan of ginger. However, after being served PJ Apple Gin with ginger ale I know that if I find the right flavour combination, it is something which I can enjoy! When I suggested to Teacher Gin Buddy #1 that we try this one out on our summer holiday gin day, it was a choice which surprised her. Somewhat confused, she commented, “…but don’t you hate ginger?” Yes, yes I do, wait for this one…we’re going to team it with Kongsgaard, a fabulous Danish gin which uses some earthy botanicals alongside cinnamon bark and Danish apples. She didn’t need asking twice, Kongsgaard was one of our favourite gins over the autumn and winter, as it lends itself beautifully to a warm apple toddy. Apple and ginger is a common combination, and the resulting flavour of this drink was reminiscent of apple pie, sweet and light with the perfect balance of ginger, apple and cinnamon.
The 1783 cucumber tonic is particularly fragrant, giving the impression that it is going to have a strong cucumber flavour. In reality, the taste is not even nearly as pronounced as the flavour, which for me was a positive. For this tonic I went with Bloom, which is a subtle, floral London Dry gin. It’s three main botanicals are honeysuckle, chamomile and pomelo, a fruit similar in appearance and flavour to the grapefruit, but without the bitterness. A friend brought over a large bottle of this flavour tonic, which is why the mini one in the picture isn’t opened. We definitely needed to double up on our gin measures for this one as, although the cucumber flavour was less intense than the scent, it was still possibly a little too overpowering for this gin…luckily I’ve still got my smaller bottle to experiment with and I am determined to find the best match…no matter how much gin I have to go through!
Finally I went for the light tonic which I combined with one of my favourites, Daffy’s Gin. Daffy’s uses Lebanese mint as one of it’s botanicals, which gives it distinctive “buttery, creamy, toffee notes.” The tonic on it’s own has a soft, crisp taste, with a light citrus flavour which gently comes through, along with quinine of course. For a clean and simple tonic, what better way to enjoy it than with a straight up G&T, or in this case, I should say a D&T. A glass full of ice, 50ml of Daffy’s gin, topped up with 1783 Light Tonic and you are most definitely onto a winner.
Now you may be thinking that I must have been out of school for far too long because my Maths is decidedly shot. Five mixers in a box, only four drinks mentioned, no I haven’t gone completely bonkers. It just so happens that one evening last week Hubby decided to pour himself a cheeky après work G&T. Reaching into the fridge he took out a bottle of tonic, topped up his glass and merrily quaffed away, completely unbeknownst to me. Needless to say it was the bottle of Schweppes 1783 Crisp Tonic and the feedback I received was minimal…I only realised he’d used it the next day! Ah well, the fact he didn’t say anything negative is a positive in my book…guess I’ll just have to head out and buy myself some more!
One more little point to note, when you do head out to grab yourself a taster of this new range, be aware that there was a voluntary recall notice put out on some products. A few of the 600ml glass bottles have been known to…open themselves. The affected batches have a use by date of up to and including March 2019 and customers who have a bottle at home are being advised to open them carefully to release the pressure, ensuring that the bottle is pointing away from the body. It would seem that some of the bottles are apparently just bursting to get into our drinks.