The Liquor Cabinet

How To Pair Spirits And Mixers Like A Pro

Your guide to pairing mixers with spirits – from classic mixed drinks like gin and tonic, rum and coke, vodka soda and wine spritzers to unexpected pairings.

Pair Spirits and Refreshing Mixers

Few things are more refreshing on a warm day than a perfectly balanced mixed drink! But for far too long, the essential companion of spirits, the mixer, was relegated to an afterthought. Now, with changing consumer tastes shifting to drinking less but better, and a range of premium mixers that enhance the notes, characteristics and flavours of our favourite spirits at our disposal, it’s time to hero the mixer.


According to Trish Brew, brand ambassador for Fever-Tree, “The biggest misconception people have is that mixing a drink just makes the drink weaker, but in actuality, the amount of alcohol ingested remains the same.


“Good mixers play a large part in transforming the flavour as well as adding texture (carbonation) to a drink when they are paired with a spirit, adding depth and lightness. It can greatly enhance the overall drinking experience by making it more than the sum of its parts.”


While there are some things that just go together – like gin and tonic, rum and coke, vodka soda – there are no hard and fast rules in mixed drinks, it comes down to what tastes good to you.


The first step is to familiarise yourself with the nuances of your chosen spirit. “Following similar flavour profiles in the spirit and mixer combo is a good place to start, but I think the biggest fun is finding new combinations by experimenting!” says Trish.


Here are the refreshing spirits and mixers pairings you can’t go wrong with.

Pair tonic water with gin, vodka and whisky

Gin and tonic is a tried-and-tested combination. But, with an increasing range of gins in different styles, it’s worth seeking out the right tonic waters that will match the gin’s flavour profile. For example, a crisp tonic water like Strangelove Light Tonic Water will elevate a flavourful gin like Tanqueray Blackcurrant Royal, with the subtle quinine bringing the fruity and floral notes of French blackcurrant, vanilla, and black orchid to the forefront.


But gin and tonic are not exclusive playmates. Tonic water can also be a friend to vodka, and is a surprisingly good match with whisky as well. Try Glenlivet Single Malt matched with Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water – this rich Scotch whisky is layered with baked pastries, orchard fruits, toffee and oak, both a complement and a contrast to the earthy bitterness of the tonic’s botanical undertone.

Pair ginger ale or ginger beer with rum and whisky

Ginger ale is not as piquant as ginger beer, meaning it can stand up to rum’s intensity whilst bringing out the innate sweetness of the molasses. The Kraken Spiced Rum is blended with earthy spices like cinnamon, clove, and ginger, so try pairing it with Fever-Tree Dry Ginger Ale to highlight those spices.


But ginger beer is a long-time companion for rum too – just look at the classic Dark & Stormy cocktail for inspiration. And, it can also be a great match also for vodka – hello Moscow Mule!


Ginger ale is also a great pairing with Scotch whisky and bourbon for the same reasons as rum, as it’s able to evoke the inherent earthy flavours. Try mixing Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky with an equally sophisticated craft ginger ale to do it justice. This spicy mixer is also up for the challenge of caressing those Kentucky notes of a Jim Beam White Label Bourbon.

Pair soda water with gin, vodka and whisky

A whisky soda or a vodka soda (try it with or Newy Distillery Pink Vodka) may be a no-brainer, but soda water is a neutral mixer that adds a refreshing fizz to any spirit, especially flavoured gin or vodka. Add it to Gordon’s Mediterranean Orange Gin to make a delicious summer drink.


Another surprising combination may be the Irish iteration of a Highball – combine soda water with an Irish whiskey like Jameson and watch it enhancing the honey and fruit flavours.

Pair sparkling wine with… well, just about anything

There is something undeniably indulgent about an effervescent apéritif like a spritz cocktail, which pairs your favourite bottle of prosecco with an aperitivo like Aperol or Vero, a dash of soda, and a round of citrus.
Ginsecco is pegged to be the next seasonal favourite, especially the pink gin variety. Malfy Gin Rosa and prosecco will instantly transport you to the Italian coast. Or, add the sparkling wine to some 23rd Street Distillery Violet Gin, with a twist of lemon, for an incredible taste sensation.
This is just a take-off point. Whether you stick with the classic pairings, or try something different, the right mixer is clearly your plane ticket to a better drinking experience. Where will you go next?
Powered by