The Australian craft spirits scene is going from strength to strength, so Melbourne based brand StrangeLove thought now was the time to produce local mixers that make the whole craft spirits scene a whole lot better.
The new range of Australian made mixers feature four tonic waters (for mixing with Gin) and a dry ginger ale (suitable for Rum), the production process of the mixers are more in line with the distillation of spirits than softs drinks, with some variants containing up to seven different botanicals.
StrangeLove mixers are currently available in:
Tonic No. 8 – a gutsy, bold Indian tonic water.
Light Tonic – which at 2.9g sugar/100ml contains the lowest sugar of any all-natural tonic water on the market
Dirty Tonic – a bespoke, cloudy tonic that is the first bottled tonic to use wild-crafted, unrefined cinchona bark
Bitter Lemon Tonic – a versatile citrus tonic water that is often paired with tequila and whiskey
Dry Ginger – a super-dry Ginger Ale with Sichuan pepper and two varieties of ginger
“People are paying upwards of $20 for a shot of gin, so to even contemplate using post-mix on a spirit like that should be grounds for a hefty fine, public shaming or possibly a lifetime ban from the hospitality industry.” argues James Bruce, StrangeLove’s co-founder.
“No seriously, there are some truly amazing, inspiring gins coming out of Australia and it’s about time there was a locally produced tonic water that did them justice. We’ve spent the last two years getting the formulas just right, pairing our trial batches with different gins, getting feedback from the industry and experimenting with different extracts. We are very happy with where we have ended up.”
The mixers themselves – served in an elegant 180ml Italian glass bottle – contain less sugar than most other brands. “We’d like to say we reduced the sugar because we are dedicated to better health,” said Bruce, “But the truth is we are dedicated to better G&Ts! We believe people’s palates have dramatically changed in the last few years and they are moving away from overly sweet drinks.”
“In a way, the whole movement is becoming more adult and sophisticated, consumers are looking for a peak experience in terms of flavour – Sichuan pepper, finger lime, aniseed myrtle. We use sugar to bring out these flavours, not as a flavour in its own right.”
The production process for the mixers has been tedious. For the Dirty Tonic the brand wanted to create the world’s first bottle tonic that applied unrefined, wild-crafted cinchona bark. It’s common for syrups to use raw cinchona, but to scale this idea for a bottling line posed a whole range of problems.
“We literally started with a bag of raw bark from Guatemala and were like ‘cool, what now?’ Months and months later, we got there. And now you can go and by a bottle of tonic water containing raw cinchona bark at your local bottle shop. It’s definitely a giant leap forward for modern civilisation.”