Whisper it soft – and don’t tempt fate – but it looks like the UK is in for a good summer. With such pleasures come long summer nights… and long summer drinks.. If you’re seeking something new, something refreshing, something light and something lower in calories than many drinks, may we suggest Fino and Tonic?
But what is Fino sherry?
The simple definition – at the excellent resource that is sherry.wine – is that Fino sherry is, essentially, a white Spanish wine, specifically a dry white Andalusian wine made from palomino grapes, aged under a layer of yeasts. It’s this that gives Fino its structure, the flavours that allow it to match so efficiently with so many foods, and the depth that make it such a great choice as a long Summer drink.
As well as holding up against mixers and other ingredients in more complex cocktails, at around 15% ABV, Fino is much lighter than the average spirit. It also contains a very low amount of residual sugar.
So what will be your long drink for the – we hope – imminent long summer? May we suggest Fino & Tonic? Simple, straightforward, refreshing and delicious. And, as simple as it sounds, the rise of interesting, nuanced and flavoured tonics means there’s the potential for considerable variety.
Best 5 Tonic Brands for Fino & Tonic
Fino’s delightful - but approachable - complexity means it can sit alongside all sorts of mixers, and all sorts of flavours, to create something new and interesting and delicious. Whether you use a simple, straightforward tonic or like to explore the more esoteric, we’ve tested a few of what we think are the best tonic brands and the best tonic mixers for cocktails to see what they can bring to a Fino and Tonic. Perhaps one of these might just be your new favourite drink for the great British Summer Time…
Fino + Fever Tree
Fever Tree are one of the most acclaimed newer tonic producers in the UK and have a fantastic range of flavoured tonic waters. The regular Premium Indian Tonic Water is a great product, with a clean quinine flavour as well as a handful of other botanicals, including Mexican Bitter Oranges. They even say it’s been designed “to enhance the very best gins, vodkas and fortified wines, like… Fino…”
We also recommended their Refreshingly Light Cucumber Tonic and the Lemon Tonic Water as excellent variations for Fino and Tonic. Just picture the scene. The BBQ is on, the friends are on their way, the salads are prepped… and you’ve got a cold Fino and Lemon Tonic in your hand. Bliss.
Fino + Schweppes
You have to admire Schweppes. Their tonic water was first sold in 1783, and is billed as “the world’s original soft drink.” While other companies have tweaked and played with and flavoured their tonic water, Schweppes has stuck to what it does best. A straightforward, simple, accessible, easily obtained and thoroughly decent tonic water. It’s now available in two forms: the original, and a Zero Sugar version. It’s a classic – and either version makes a great Fino & Tonic. It’s an all-rounder, one for sipping in a pub garden or as a post-work refresher.
Fino + Britvic
Another long standing classic of the mixer world, Britvic dates back to 1938 and was originally a juice company, established to make an affordable source of vitamins for the British population. They expanded into mixers in the 1950s, including their classic tonic water. It’s great as a Fino & Tonic, as is if you can find it, their Elderflower Tonic: floral, refreshing, and a perfect splash of summer. (For something slightly different, their Ginger Beer is a gently spiced little number, and Fino & Ginger Beer… trust us. It’s good.)
Fino + Franklin & Sons
Franklin and Sons, according to their label, were established in 1886. No, us neither. However the brand seems to have thrived as a result of gin’s renaissance, and they now offer a very interesting range of high quality flavoured tonics. We’d recommend keeping the Spanish theme going, and adding their Original Mallorcan Tonic Water for a great Fino & Tonic, the Mallorcan citrus notes playing particularly well against Fino’s similar qualities. Alternatively, for something with a satisfyingly savoury edge, to play up to Fino’s delicious salinity, the Rosemary and Black Olive Tonic Water is worth seeking out. It’s a delightful, refreshing drink but absolutely sings with food. It’s so good with pizza, in fact, it almost makes us want to build our own oven…
Fino + Fentiman’s
Having made Ginger Beer since 1905, the Fentiman’s brand has since become synonymous with great British flavours and traditions. Amazingly, it’s still family owned, with the founder Thomas Fentiman’s great grandson continuing to develop the range. There are three versions of their Tonic Water: Premium, Naturally Light (for those looking for a lower calorie option) and Connoisseur’s, which has been designed to work with citrus-heavy gins, earthier gins or the juniper-heavy. Fino’s ability to hold up to big flavours is also an option, of course. For something lighter and more unconventional, the Fentiman’s Oriental Yuzu Tonic has subtle herbal undertones that work beautifully with Fino. The flavours may be modern and international, but Fentiman’s sense of tradition – and old fashioned bottles – make us think picnics and days on the beach.
Disclaimer: The brands mentioned in this blog post are not sponsored. Our content is purely editorial, and our recommendations are based solely on our honest opinions and experiences. We do not receive any monetary compensation or incentives from the mentioned brands. Always remember to make your own informed decisions based on your personal preferences and considerations.