by David Klemt

Fever-Tree Cola: Set Aside Your Soda Gun

by David Klemt

Fever-Tree Distillers Cola bottle and cocktail

Fever-Tree, the company elevating mixers since 2005, is now focusing on producing the finest cola.

Like the entirety of the Fever-Tree portfolio, Distillers Cola honors spirits and enhances cocktails.

And, like its mates in the lineup, the newest Fever-Tree product is made only with premium ingredients.

Commitment to Quality

Fever-Tree’s founding principle has always been producing high-quality mixers with high-quality and exotic ingredients. Co-founder Tim Warrillow and CEO of Fever-Tree North America Charles Gibb search the globe to find and partner with the best producers possible.

Much of that drive is down to the brand’s focus on honoring distillers and their spirits along with cocktail programs and bars.

In the mid-2000s, Warrillow and Gibb made a stark realization about spirits and cocktail. Distillers were crafting incredible spirits but most mixers were either standard or substandard.

Obviously, that changed with the launch of Fever-Tree, undeniable leaders and innovators in the mixer category.

Exotic Cola

For years now, today’s consumer has been drinking better. With unfettered access to information, social media and brands, they’ve been learning more about spirits and cocktails.

Intriguingly, the pandemic didn’t change that, and all signs point to a continued dedication to quality drinking.

Also, great bartenders want to tell, as Gibbs says, the best stories through the best cocktails. In doing so, they’ve taught their guests how to drink better.

Of course, part of improving one’s drinking is seeking out products produced with quality ingredients.

According to Warrillow, Fever-Tree is excited to finally take on “the biggest mixer of them all, cola,” the most-popular soft drink flavor in the world. He says people have been asking for Fever-Tree to craft their own cola for quite some time now.

It should come as no surprise to any Fever-Tree fan that Distillers Cola is produced with a commitment to craft.

The kola nuts are grown wild in the Caribbean sweet, earthy, and a natural source of caffeine. Large Tahitian limes from Mexico—the Yucatán province specifically—are bold but not overwhelming. Jamaican pimento berries (allspice) imbue Distillers Cola with flavors of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and pepper. Madagascan vanilla—the “most prized” vanilla, per Warrillow—is intense, sweet, and lends to a creamy mouthfeel.

Distillers Cola, being a mixer and not a soft drink, is high in carbonation but reins in its sweetness.

A Mixer with Intent

Now, Fever-Tree Distillers Cola is meant to elevate bourbons and dark rums. Of course, that doesn’t mean its use is limited.

In fact, Speed Rack co-founder Lynnette Marrero suggests mixing up a Gin & Distillers Cola. Certainly, that’s a much different direction than Rum or Whiskey & Colas.

And Marrero’s Going Back to Kalimoxto, which she describes as “the spritz meets sangria,” calls for 0.5 oz. Cognac, 0.5 oz. Fernet, 3 oz. red wine (nothing too tannic: think Pinot Noir or Beaujolais), and 3 oz. Fever-Tree Cola. Simply stir and serve with a lemon wheel.

Indeed, this brand-new Fever-Tree product is practically begging for cocktail experimentation.

Reposado, añejo, and extra añejo tequilas, some mezcals, amaros, Scotch and rye whiskeys… A new mixer opens up a world of menu possibilities.

However, the best place to start is likely two of Fever-Trees intended cocktails: an elevated Rum & Cola or Whiskey & Cola. In fact, Warrillow and Gibbs say it was developed with Bacardí Cuatro in mind.

Interestingly, Allen Katz of New York Distilling Co. tasted “about 15 barrels” of their Ragtime Rye with Distillers Cola. According to Katz, the cola pairs very well with a whiskey with more fruit, less cedar and spice. In fact, he likes it so much he has committed a single barrel to a special Distillers Cola release—be on the lookout, whiskey hunters.

Also, since Governor Andrew Cuomo has lifted Covid-19 restrictions, people can visit New York Distilling’s Shanty to try a specialty cocktail made with Distiller’s Cola.

Holster Your Soda Guns

Yes, soda guns have been de rigueur for decades. They’re convenient in terms of service, particularly in a high-volume setting.

They’re also often perceived as being perpetually dirty. And, in many cases, that perception is reality.

Of course, in other cases it’s simply what guests have been taught from myriad articles and blog posts.

When I asked Gibbs how he expects to convince operators to hang up their soda guns and choose Distillers Cola instead, his answer was compelling. On the bar side, he points to the fact that bartenders want to craft and serve the best possible cocktails. To do that, they need high-quality ingredients. Along with that, many guests know Fever-Tree and seek it out.

That’s all well and good, but what about the operator side? Gibbs notes that bars across the country are ripping out their soda guns. Clearly, this is a response to health-conscious guests who perceive what comes out of the gun to be unhealthy or subpar in quality.

Those same operators, therefore, aren’t buying and storying bags of syrup. Instead, they can purchase higher-quality ingredients that deliver on consistency. Consistency and quality are key elements of the guest experience. Gibbs also says that operators can charge more for a drink made with premium ingredients like Fever-Tree.

Of course, the next step is for operators and their front-of-house teams to try Fever-Tree Distillers Cola for themselves. Not only will it elevate their bar programs, it certainly enhances to-go cocktail kit options.

Image: Fever-Tree