The Bartenders' Brand Awards, now in its fifth year, is our annual product testing - by bartenders, for bartenders. 

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 focus of our serialised results today, is the top-five products in the soft drinks and mixers category.

When a Dandelion & Burdock soft drink takes the title of Supreme Champion among the hundreds of products entered into the BBAs, it says something of where bartender’ tastes are – not far off Victorian.

Fentimans’ Dandelion & Burdock scored a whopping 48 out of 50 on taste. The panel loved the deep, dark colour and picked out the headline ingredients immediately, evangelising about the bitter botanical notes.

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As one of the lowest-priced mixers, it was declared a “bargain”, scoring 25/25. It was also a thumbs up for the design. Altogether? 94/100 – the top score this year of any product in any category.

Double Dutch Margarita Soda is one of the more successful forays into encapsulating a cocktail as a flavour. With 46/50 for taste, the panel picked out “pleasant and balanced notes of mint, lime and cucumber notes with salinity”.

They thought the product was “great value for money” and liked the updated design. It totalled an impressive 90/100.

Third was Fentimans’ classic Victorian Lemonade, completing a podium of products with triple gold.

In fourth and fifth were Franklin products taking golds for taste and value. Pineapple Mixer with Almond was enjoyed for its bold flavour combination, while Original Ginger Ale was noted for its authentic-tasting subtle ginger profile.