The Weekend Series: five craft sodas and mixers you should stock at home
Shake up your soda game with these artisan antidotes sure to add the perfect finishing touch to your cocktails, mocktails and everything in between. From native Australian botanicals to the finest international ingredients, these craft sodas and mixers have placed quality and flavour at the forefront, and done away with the overloaded sweeteners and artificial additives. Now the teetotallers can enjoy as much flavour and complexity as their boozy counterparts, while those after a tipple can ensure their mixers are worthy of their spirits. Check out some of our favourite craft concoctions below.
This Australian craft soda range is handmade and bottled in a dedicated section of Sydney’s award-winning PS40 bar. With an emphasis on local, fresh ingredients and native Aussie botanicals, the sodas are divine drunk straight, combined with a spirit or shaken into a cocktail. The team put as much care into their core range and seasonal sodas as their famous (or infamous, depending on how your night ended up) cocktails – think layered flavours, progressive techniques and no artificial flavours or preservatives. Grab your small-batch bottle of bubbles in Smoked Lemonade, Wattle Cola, Bush Tonic, Blackstrap Ginger, Myrtle Soda or a host of other flavours.
Based on the premise “if three-quarters of your drink is the mixer, then you should use the best”, the seed for Fever-Tree was planted in 2003 when founders Charles and Tim observed that consumers were growing increasingly attentive to the provenance of their spirits, yet were neglecting the quality of their mixers. Two years and a heck of a lot of research later, the Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water was released. Since then, the esteemed brand has developed a range of tonic waters to complement the various flavour categories of gin, a selection of ginger ales and ginger beer boasting three different varieties of ginger, Madagascan vanilla cola, a selection of lemonades and soda water. Now served in nine of the top 10 restaurants in the world, Fever-Tree takes its ingredient sourcing seriously and avoids artificial flavourings and sweeteners.
Whether you’re laying off the booze and need a sparkling alternative, or simply need a mixer to complement your liquor, this range of bubbly dreams is here for you. Formed by a group of Melbourne hospitality pros, Seco Sparkling boasts refreshingly dry, low-sugar and artificial-sweetener-free sparkling drinks that rival traditional soft drinks in terms of flavour, ingredients and health. Developed alongside a highly experienced executive chef, the drops were designed to pair well with food and each style contains only four all-natural ingredients. From Green Apple & Elderflower intended for white meats and salad dishes, to Spiced Pineapple for Mexican or barbecues, Cucumber & Mint for seafood and salads, and Pomelo Blood Orange for spicy Asian meals and seafood salads, the concise range is given regular shake-ups with seasonal flavour launches. Check out some great cocktail and mocktail recipes online and read how your support can help sponsor OzHarvest’s NEST (Nutrition Education Sustenance Training) program.
Image: Seco Sparkling
The very important job of a mixer is to tip its hat in highest regard to its accompanying spirit, while matching its level of quality. StrangeLove’s premium range of mixers, low-cal sodas, organic soft drinks and mineral water most certainly go above their call of duty. Consider a beautifully nuanced Dry Ginger Ale featuring aromatic ginger extract, burnt sugar and applewood-smoked water, or a Bitter Lemon Tonic boasting complex citrus flavours and organic cane sugar. StrangeLove’s range of lo-cal sodas have opted for less sugar and more flavour over the typical sweetener alternatives, with fresh combos such as cloudy pear and cinnamon, Cuban white grapefruit and holy basil, and in-season Mildura lemons with Sicilian lemon extract and clementine oil.
Margaret River Beverages
Born, bred and bottled in Margaret River, this range of premium sodas boasts a combination of herbs and real fruit juice to form a core range of drinks, including Citron Presse, Pink Lemon Lime & Bitters, Berry Fusion, Dry Cola, Chilli Cola and Vanilla Blu, as well as a new reduced-sugar option, Berry Spritzer with stevia. This family run company has been around since 1999 but recently treated their little bottled beauties to a branding makeover and a host of new stockists.
Image: Margaret River Beverages
Karma Cola: Perhaps one of the most feel-good options on the market, this brand has set up a foundation to ensure that the cola nut-farming communities of Sierra Leone benefit from every bottle sold. Organic ingredients combine to create the classic Karma Cola, lemonade and ginger ale, as well as flavour bombs featuring blackcurrant, red grapefruit and blood orange, gut-friendly switchels and more.
Famous Soda Co: These guys have created a refreshing line of bubbly sodas that boast zero sugar, 100 percent natural ingredients, low calories and no additives or preservatives. The Aussie-made drops come conveniently bottled and are a healthy alternative to mainstream soft drinks. After trialling and taste-testing gallons of soda variations, the final four flavours to make the cut include Blood Orange, Ginger Beer, Lemon and the newest addition, Pink Lemonade. These little dazzlers are available in cafes and delis across the country.
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