Tonic BBAs

The Bartenders' Brand Awards, now in its fourth year, is CLASS’ annual product testing - by bartenders, for bartenders. Here we tackle the highly competitive world of tonic water. 

The BBAs follows a three-step process to mirror buying behaviour, with each product blind-tasted, judged on value for money and finally by design. For more on the methodology behind the BBAs, read more here.

The tonic session saw a tussle between many of the top brands operating in the UK and once again, Fentimans came out on top. The Northumbria-based mixer brand took Category Champion with its Valencian Orange Tonic Water, taking gold for taste (orange, lemongrass and quinine) with a score of 41/50. It was the only tonic to take gold on the taste assessment this year, and followed it up with a gold (42/50) in value for money - £1.50 RRP for 20cl was seen as great bang for buck. It then took silver in design taking it to 116/150, a few lengths ahead of the rest of the field.

Seventeen (formerly 1724), distributed in the UK by Cask Liquid Marketing, was second with silvers across the board. In taste (dry with notes of citrus and quinine) it achieved 35/50, with the tonic impressing on value for money too (£1.45 RRP for 20cl), scoring 34/50. Its new design saw its highest score of 36/50.

Double Dutch Indian Tonic had plaudits on taste (zesty, juniper notes and quinine) while was a point off gold for its perceived value for money (under 80p per 20cl). Schweppes Signature Collection – Classic was in fourth with silver medals in all three measures. In taste (crisp bitterness and good carbonation) it took 34/50 which inched it ahead of The Artisan’s Pink Citrus Tonic. With notes of crisp pink grapefruit, blood orange and lemon with a hint of basil, The Artisan’s Pink Citrus Tonic took three silvers too, including the top mark in the category for its stylish pink label.

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Medal guide: Gold: 41-50/50, Silver: 31-40/50, Bronze: 21-30/50, No medal: 1-20/50

For the complete Tonic results, visit the BBAs website.