Even if you opt for a craft brand that uses the best ingredients, tonic water’s pungently bitter flavor is not for everyone. If you happen to be a tonic hater, but you still want to concoct a simple, two-ingredient gin cocktail, these seven mixers are your new go-tos. From a seltzer infused with fresh elderflower, to a vegetal celery flavored soda, here are the best mixers for gin that aren’t tonic.
Although St-Germain tastes great with everything (it’s like the ketchup of the cocktail world), gin and the French liqueur have a special relationship. Together, the spirits’ silky flavors combine to create cocktails that smell and taste like a heady, garden bouquet in a glass. A Highball with gin and elderflower soda evokes the same flavors, with the added benefit of some spritz. Belvoir Farms Elderflower Pressé is essentially a carbonated, flavored seltzer infused with fresh elderflower and lemon juice. Vivaciously bubbly, this two-ingredient spritz is as easy to concoct as it is thirst quenching. And it is very thirst quenching.
Negroni lovers, take note: San Pellegrino Chinotto is the bittersweet soda you need. Somewhere between Campari and Cappelletti Amaro Sfumato (with an abundance of gentian, citrus pith, fresh orange blossom and rhubarb), this robust, dark amber-hued Italian soda gets its flavor from the oil of bitter chinotto oranges. Mixed with gin, this soda creates the perfect pre-dinner spritz, a cocktail that’s meant to be sipped on sunlit patios. Pair it with hard, salty cheeses and garnish with a fat Castelvetrano olive. A game changer for amaro lovers and bitter fanatics, this Italian soda will have you hooked at one sip.
There’s nothing wrong with a well-made Moscow Mule, but ginger beer isn’t just for vodka. One of its best and most underappreciated pairings is gin. Also known as a Gin Buck, this piquant Highball is the perfect effervescent sipper for year-round drinking. In the summer, mix a light, herbaceous gin (try Beefeater) with fiery ginger beer to create an uber-refreshing drink. Or, for a warming drink that battles the winter weather, mix an aged gin (like Bluecoat’s barrel-aged gin) with ginger beer and a dash of Angostura bitters. However you choose to mix gin and ginger beer, one thing is for certain: You’ll never go back to using vodka again.
Why go through the trouble of juicing lemons and making simple syrup (or a back-breakingly difficult oleo-saccharum) to concoct a Tom Collins when you can achieve the same delicious effect by simply mixing gin with sparkling lemonade. Bright, citrusy and effervescent, this combo is essential for warmer days when you’re too lazy to mix a proper drink.
Even if you’re down with your cocktail history, you probably didn’t know that the classic Greyhound was originally made with gin—not vodka. In The Savoy Cocktail Book, author Harry Craddock’s recipe balances grapefruit’s juicy bitterness with a bright herbaceous gin. While fresh grapefruit juice is always the best option, this refreshingly chuggable cocktail is nearly as good (and ridiculously easy to make) with Ocean Spray Ruby Red.
Dry Sparkling’s naturally flavored cucumber soda is the tonic replacement that we’ve all been waiting for. It’s at once brazenly cucumber-rific—with an unparalleled crispness—and loaded with tight, compact bubbles like the best top-shelf Champagnes. Once you try one, you’re going to want to keep this seltzer stocked by the case. For an extra-cucumbery cocktail, try mixing it with Hendrick’s gin, which is flavored with cucumber and rose.
While this New York Jewish deli classic’s blatant vegetalness isn’t for everyone, it’s one of our favorite companions for gin. Made with celery seed (rather than stalks), celery soda was originally developed as a palate cleanser for dense, salt-heavy dishes like pastrami. With gin, the soda’s intense aromatics and garden flavors truly shine. We really like to take the savoriness to the max by using giant, juniper-heavy gins like Sipsmith’s London Dry.