Butler & Brewer Tonic Enhancers allow you to flavour Tonic Water while still retaining all that yummy bitterness that makes it so lush. Crammed full of citrus, fruit and botanical flavours, but with zero added sweetness, they’ve been hand crafted to put a range of sublime flavours at your fingertips.
It’s a contemporary retelling of a classic: no more sliced lemons and glasses crammed full of fruit salad and sprigs of herbs, we’ve concentrated all that natural goodness into a glass bottle you can keep on the shelf.
Inspired by a family history steeped in adventure and exploration, it all started with a crazy idea, a case of mistaken identity, and two generations later, a way of turning our love for a good G&T into something special.
We, the husband and wife team of Laren and Kirst Foord, wanted to avoid the syrups and cordials that were being used to flavour a G&T, and so we used the time during lockdown #1 to seek out a new way of adding the flavour we were after, but without utilising any sugar, artificial sweeteners or artificial flavourings, so that we could retain the characteristics of a quintessential G&T.
And after an exhaustive development process we’ve created naturally flavoured products that have exceeded our wildest expectations. All you do is add 4 dashes to your glass, and top up with your regular, plain Tonic Water to create a fantastically flavoured drink that also releases incredible aromas out of the glass. And in doing so we’ve done away with the need for flavoured gin and vodka, or flavoured tonic waters, because now you can flavour your drink when you want, how you want, using the same Tonic Water you’d usually use.
Each flavour is intensely personal, there’s no ingredient that is there to try to be zany or over challenging, we wanted to offer you an insight into the flavours that we have been inspired by, and deliver something authentic, and above all, delicious! So while our products are hand crafted in Bristol, they’ve been inspired from further afield too, from as close as our back garden, all the way to Istanbul. And although they’ve been created to pair beautifully with all unflavoured gins, we periodically release pairing suggestions we’re particularly excited by, and you can find them here.
The elderflower, cucumber and apple is a homage to what grows in our family’s beautiful garden in Wiltshire. We love that garden, it’s just divine, and sitting on the lawn enjoying a drink In the summer with a hedge of elderflower and rows of apple trees in front of you is heavenly. It’s the one flavour that doesn’t have a citrus-type note in it, instead relying on the crisp tartness of a green apple.
Hibiscus, lime and pomegranate was inspired by a trip to Turkey, and in particular Istanbul. Now there’s a place for inspiration. Buying pomegranate juice squeezed to order from street vendors and enjoying delicious Turkish delight made with honey (not the stuff they sell in boxes to tourists) on a rooftop looking out over the Bosphorus was incredible. It was something we wanted to capture, but rose water can be pretty polarising, and so we moved to Hibiscus, which is beautifully floral but has none of the sort of cosmetics/soapy vibe that rose can sometimes have.
We knew we absolutely wanted to do something with orange, but wanted it to be orange rind, not the fruit itself, as that was one of the first crude concentrates we made when playing with the proof of concept. And we didn’t want citrus on citrus because that would just muddle the flavours, so we didn’t want to add lemon, lime or grapefruit. Laren makes a fantastic pickled watermelon rind in the summer and so there happened to be lemongrass in the kitchen and it was like a lightbulb moment. And that’s how we ended up moving towards a marmalade type orange flavour with just a hint of lemongrass, but it needed a herbaceous note to balance it out and so there’s just the softest addition of thyme in the orange, thyme and lemongrass flavour.
Rosemary, mint and lemon was driven by what was growing in our garden, that was the starting point for our proof of concept. And was actually a really good lesson in developing balance because too much mint and you have toothpaste, too much rosemary and you have cough syrup or lamb dinner! But get them working harmoniously and it’s a glorious combination.
The raspberry, basil and lime was a slight indulgence. Laren loves adding fruit, especially berries, to our salads in the summer. And in particular loves combining them with basil. Sitting on a small beach south of Barcelona in a chiringuito sipping Puerto De Indias Strawberry Gin meant that when we got back home our salad berries became G&T berries! So it was just a natural flavour combination that we wanted to pursue and ended up homing in on raspberries as the berry of choice.
And then of course there’s the story of the Secretary Bird… which kind of goes back in time to when Kirst’s mom and dad were young parents. Chris, her dad, was an aspiring tennis player who lost the sight in one eye when he got hit in the eye with a tennis ball. Yes, the irony is glaring! Seeking adventure, they sold their home in Essex, bought a motor home, and with 2 toddlers in tow, set off on an adventure to drive to Cape Town, with the plan being to sell the motor home when they got there and return home. But after an epic journey, the love for Africa had grabbed them, and they settled in Cape Town for good.
But for Chris, a particular love for Kenya’s vast plains had been kindled and he returned there numerous times. One sunny afternoon, while sitting on the lawns of a hotel in Nairobi enjoying a G&T with a bunch of expats, Chris made a faux pas that became family legend and has been retold countless times through the years.
Being his turn to get a round in, he was ordering from the “waiter” standing by his shoulder, only to find the whole table having a little chuckle. Slightly bemused, he continued ordering, but the chuckling had now become raucous laughter. Slightly irked, he turned to the “waiter” to finish the order, only to realise that the silhouette on his blind side was not a waiter at all, but rather a Secretary Bird looking at him rather quizzically!
That’s just one of countless stories in our family history where a G&T has been a feature. Butler & Brewer is our story, shared with you through our original products, and we hope that in amongst all the flavour, you’ll also feel all the love and laughter that has gone into each of them.