The drinks industry is a dynamic landscape that continually evolves with new trends and innovations. Amidst this ever-changing environment, classic cocktails made of a spirit and a mixer, be it gin and tonic or whisky highball, remain universally valued for their refined simplicity and well-balanced flavours. This year, IWSC Mixer Awards, sponsored by Franklin & Sons, once again showed a growth in the number and quality of entries. In these categories, the spirits were judged based on how well they paired with the mixer. A total of 12 gold medals were awarded to outstanding spirits which all work wonders when combined with tonic or soda. Here are the best spirits and mixers of the 2023 awards, along with our judges' tasting notes.
With a total of 6 gold medals, this was a stellar category of this year’s Mixer Awards. "The strength of a good gin and tonic lies in its simplicity," said our judges. The crispness of gin combined with the effervescence of tonic water tickles the palate and brings a delightful symphony of flavours. When judging this category, the IWSC experts tasted the drinks composed of one part gin to three parts tonic. The drinks were tasted blindly in Riedel glasses, no ice or garnish was used.
Another top-performing category, whisky highballs impressed our judges with the consistent quality of all entries. “Whiskey high balls are always a favourite of mine, and we ended up with some really outstanding finishers in the gold category,” shared Shannon Tebay, IWSC Judging Committee member who oversaw the judging. Our experts tasted whisky highballs made of one part whisky to three parts of soda water. The drinks were tasted blindly in Riedel glasses, no ice or garnish was used.
The marriage of rum and tonic might not be as well-known as some other classics, such as gin and tonic, but it's a combination that promises a unique and enjoyable drinking experience, said our judges, admitting that there were some great surprises in this category. At the judging, the rum and tonics were mixed in the proportion of one part rum to three parts tonic. The drinks were tasted blindly in Riedel glasses, no ice or garnish was used.
Our judges appreciated the clean and crisp flavour profile of many of this year’s entries. "Vodka and tonic is a simple, yet elegant cocktail and when done right, it can be enjoyable and incredibly versatile," said the judges. The entries were tasted in the proportion of one part vodka to three parts tonic, in Riedel glasses, with no ice or garnish.