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There are so many different types of gin to choose from these days, from classic New London Dry to new-school American craft gin to gins from Japan, India, or Scotland flavored with their own native botanicals. Once you’ve figured out which gin to drink, you’ll likely be looking for something to mix it with, as there is a never-ending list of gin-based cocktails to try.
We’ve put together a list of some of the best gin mixers you can find now with some help from bar industry experts, including aperitifs like vermouth, a simple but complex tonic water, and pre-packaged options to keep in your pantry.
Best Overall: Q Sparkling Grapefruit
Region: USA | ABV: 0% | Tasting Notes: Grapefruit, Sugar, Bitter
There are so many options to choose from when looking for a gin mixer, but this grapefruit-flavored soda from Q Mixers is one of the best. It’s flavored with Florida grapefruit and has a nice balance of tart, sweet, and sugar—a combination of flavors that works well with any gin you choose, from dry to floral, sweet to spicy, and everything in between. Just fill up a highball glass with ice, add a couple of ounces of gin, top off with this mixer, and enjoy.
Best for Gimlet: Nellie & Joe's Famous Key West Lime Juice
Region: USA | ABV: 0% | Tasting Notes: Lime, Sweet, Acid
A gimlet is a simple and refreshing cocktail that is extremely easy to make. The only ingredients required are gin, lime juice, and simple syrup, but you might not always have fresh limes on hand to squeeze. If that happens, make sure you have a bottle of Nellie & Joe’s in your pantry to use instead. It’s made from key limes instead of regular limes, adding a bit of sharpness to the palate, it has almost no pulp, and really provides a flavor that’s as close to fresh as you can get.
Best for Dirty Martini: Dirty Sue Premium Olive Juice
Region: Louisiana | ABV: 0% | Tasting Notes: Salt, Brine, Sweet
“At Jones, we’re in a unique situation in that we make a ton of dirty martinis and we also serve a discerning customer base that wants the best of everything,” says bartender Eric Oley.
Enter Dirty Sue, which was actually created specifically for use in cocktails by long-time Jones bar manager Eric ‘ET’ Tecosky. It’s a higher-quality, three-times filtered brine made from the best olives grown around the world. Try it in a Dirty Martini FDR style: 3 oz. of your favorite gin, stirred ice cold with a half-ounce of Dirty Sue Premium Olive Juice.”
Best for G&T: Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic
Region: UK | ABV: 0% | Tasting Notes: Quinine, Orange, Bitter Lemon
A Gin & Tonic is only as good as the two ingredients you use to make it, so why not go with the best? There are many different styles of gin to choose from, each bringing a different flavor profile to the drink from London Dry to New Western. The same can be said for the tonic water, and the Premium Indian Tonic from the UK’s Fever-Tree brand is one of the best. It’s made using quinine from the Democratic Republic of Congo and named after the colloquial term for the cinchona trees from which it is derived.
Related: The Best Tonic Waters
"Fever-Tree is my go-to for G&Ts and really anything that calls for tonic. It has a sufficient bitter quinine kick, the sweetness is balanced, and the bubbles are tiny and keep their fizz." — Prairie Rose, Editor
Best Ginger Ale: Canada Dry
Region: USA | ABV: 0% | Tasting Notes: Ginger, Spice, Lemon
This tried and true brand is still one of the best, despite some serious competition from smaller craft start-ups over the last few years. Ginger ale is one-half of the Gin Buck cocktail, a simple combination of ginger ale (or sometimes ginger beer), gin, and some lemon or lime. Grab some Canada Dry to use for this or any other gin-based cocktail that calls for ginger ale, and you won’t be disappointed.
Best Vermouth: Dolin Dry
Region: France | ABV: 17% | Tasting Notes: Lemon, Balsamic, Menthol
“[Dolin] complements gin in so many ways,” says American Social's lead bartender, Jose Gill, “from dry to honey to sweet to bitter. There are so many options to help you make several different cocktails, from classics to new ones.”
Dolin Dry works well with gin, particularly if you are in the mood for a Martini. Add a splash or go for a 50-50 version, however you prefer it.
Related: The Best Cocktail Mixers
Best for a Red Snapper: McClure’s Bloody Mary Mixer
Region: USA | ABV: 0% | Tasting Notes: Cucumber, Dill, Pepper
The Red Snapper is basically a Bloody Mary made with gin, adding a burst of botanicals that you wouldn’t find in the traditional vodka-based version of this drink. This mixer from McClure’s, a company well known for its pickles, is a great choice. It’s made using real tomato juice, pickle brine, dill, and garlic, and is full of flavors that will complement the gin instead of overpowering it. There’s a spicy version as well if you are so inclined.
Best Syrup: Jack Rudy Tonic Syrup
Region: South Carolina, Kentucky | ABV: 0% | Tasting Notes: Sugar, Botanicals, Quinine
Cocktail syrup is a good option if you want to hold onto it for a while or are using it to make a batch of drinks, as it’s essentially a concentrated version of a mixer that you can keep in your refrigerator once it’s opened.
Jack Rudy’s Tonic Syrup is made from concentrated quinine that has been sweetened with cane sugar and flavored with a mixture of botanicals, resulting in a bright and crisp mixer that would work well with any gin.
The best gin mixer you can find now is Q Sparkling Grapefruit (view at Amazon), a flavored option from this reputable brand of drink mixers known for its soda and tonic water. This mixer uses real grapefruit to strike the right balance of sweet and tart, with just a hint of bitterness as well. Try this mixed with gin in a refreshing highball.
What makes for a good gin mixer?
Simple is usually better when it comes to any mixer. Look for a short list of real ingredients on the label, and check to make sure there’s not too much added sugar or preservatives involved. And while strong flavors are good, you also want something that will allow the true character of the gin to shine through—otherwise, you might as well be using vodka!
What's the most popular gin mixer?
Tonic water is probably the most popular mixer, given the eternal popularity of the GIn & Tonic. But vermouth is a close second, as it’s a key ingredient in a classic Gin Martini.
How long does a mixer last after opened? Does it need to be refrigerated?
This depends on the ingredients, but most need to be refrigerated once opened and should be used within six months. Vermouth should be stored in the fridge, and the flavor tends to degrade pretty quickly so look for smaller bottles that you will go through faster.
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Jonah Flicker is an experienced writer who has been covering spirits and traveling the world visiting distilleries for many years. His work has appeared in many different national outlets covering trends, new releases, and the stories and innovators behind the spirits. His first love remains whiskey, but he is partial to tequila, rum, gin, cognac and all things distilled.
Read Next: The Best Gins for Gin and Tonics