Never mind posh gin – now it’s mixers that have seen an exotic explosion of flavours

Despite the arrival of so many wonderful craft gins in recent years, most of us still drink the stuff in one of two ways: with tonic or slimline tonic.

After all, it’s easy - and it’s hard to beat the refreshing fizz of a good G&T.

But with gin sales doubling in the past two years to a record 73 million bottles, soft drinks makers have decided they should try to get in on the action. Most of what you’re drinking in a G&T is the T, after all.

They have come up with tonics in a variety of unusual flavours, from cannabis extract to salty lemons, coffee and black olives.

So can a carefully crafted "artisan" tonic water really turn basic supermarket gin into a classy cocktail? Or is adding violet or basil to your favourite tipple a recipe for something revolting?

Gaz Jones, of Schweppes, says: "Just taste the tonic before you add it to gin. If you like it on its own, you’re probably on to a winner."

Clementine Beech, gin expert at Craft Gin Club, says: "Some gin and flavoured tonic combinations may clash horribly, but if you try to pair like with like - a herb-infused gin with a herbal tonic, for example - or aim for classic flavour pairings like a citrus gin with a spiced tonic, you should find something you enjoy."

For best results, she says, pour one third gin and two thirds tonic into a large red wine or "copa" balloon glass (a wide-mouthed glass allows you to inhale and better savour the aromas of your drink). Fill with plenty of ice, as the more cubes you add, the more slowly they will melt and dilute your drink. Give it a couple of quick stirs and you should have a perfectly balanced G&T.

Daily Mail