Updated: Oct 10, 2019
The views below are our own, we have not been sponsored by Merchant's Heart.
Welcome to our gin blog and our first ever post. Strangely enough, we've decided to dedicate our first review not to a gin, but to one of our favourite mixers, Merchant's Heart. As you may have seen from our Instagram page we use their range of Spirit Enhancers a lot when making a G&T, and there's something about the bottle we just love.
Before we experimented with different tonics, like most people, we just bought premium tonic that was freely available at our local supermarket, mainly Fevertree. But last year back in August 2017, we signed up to www.ilovegin.com (this review is also not sponsored by them) and received our first box which contained two miniatures from #DaMhileGin and two bottles of tonic by #MerchantsHeart, which were their Floral Aromatic and Light Tonic Water. We knew nothing about them at that time, but what we now know is that was the day that changed a lot in our tonic world.
After trying this tonic in our gin box, we struggled to find their mixers, and it wasn’t until the following June when they officially launched four flavours with Sainsbury’s that we were able to pick them up more regularly. We were extra lucky as that month we were also able to meet their General Manager (liquor.room.talk on Instagram) at Junipalooza London and we managed to grab the steal of the century in the tonic world. He was selling off the event stock at the end of the day for a bargain price that we couldn't refuse. We didn’t have a car with us at the time, but between myself and Mrs Bandit, we managed to carry 48 bottles home on public transport along with the bottles of gin we had purchased on the day. Ahhhhhhh that was a good day.
Any way, back to what you're probably here for, the tonic and the taste. What we love about Merchant's Heart is that they manage to pump a whole load of fizz into their bottles and we find you don't have to mess around with preparing fancy garnishes for your drink, the tonic with the gin do a lot of the work for you. We do love a garnish here at the Gin Bandits HQ, but sometimes we just want to go out to the bar, pour a nice, quick G&T and enjoy it, and with Merchant's Heart we find you can do this. They currently have 6 different flavours available, but we have only tasted the tonics and are yet to experience their Ginger Ale. We recently purchased these from Ocado who are currently doing 4 bottles for £4 until 27th November 2018, we love a tonic bargain.
Classic Tonic Water - This is our go to non-flavoured tonic water. It has a subtly sweet, citrus yet crisp flavour which isn't overpowered by the quinine.
Recommendation - Works well with most gins.
Light Tonic Water - Now, Mr Bandit has a bee in his bonnet about some of the "light" tonics in the market and is highly critical of them. There's only a few he is satisfied with and this one passes with flying colours. For a light tonic it's crisp, light and citrusy with a good depth of flavour.
Recommendation - Works well with most gins.
Pink Pepper - We’re big fans of this option, but I think some people could automatically discount it due to it being a bit different to your standard tonic flavours. We like to blind serve it to friends to see their reaction and then let them know after the flavour. You can definitely taste and smell the pink pepper flavouring, and for us, that’s a good thing. When mixed with the right gin this gives you a subtle spicy, yet fruity and fragrant flavour to your G&T, but still dishing out that traditional flavour from the quinine.
Recommendation - 6 O’Clock Gin - Brunel Edition, Whittaker’s Pink Particular Edition, Bathtub, Bertha's Revenge and Ophir.
Floral Aromatics - Again another great mixer in our opinion which also tastes great on its own. This flavour gives off a lovely floral aroma which follows through into the taste along with a lightly bitter, but also sweet flavour.
Recommendation - Merchant's Heart recommend this to be paired with citrus gins, however we think its quite versatile and have paired it with a number of different styles of gin and it worked well. If you like a fresh sweet flavour we think it went really well with Nordes Atlantic Galician Gin and Beara Pink Ocean Gin.
Hibiscus - Now this is a favourite of Mrs Bandit's which is surprising as her favourite type of gin is from the spicy range and this isn't one we would pair with one of those. Again like the Floral Aromatics, this version is delicate, floral and sweet, but we found it slightly drier on the pallet.
Recommendation - We found this goes really well with Caorunn Gin, Bath Distillery's Hopped Rhubarb Gin and again Nordes Atlantic Galician. (Shhhhhhhh don't let gin know, but Mr Bandit thinks it would do nicely with vodka too).
Let us know your thoughts on Merchant's Heart tonic, we hope you love it as much as us.
Until next time.
The Gin Bandits