Canned gin & tonic is on the rise, and many of them are surprisingly solid in quality. While we’ve been worried that the new trend toward ready-to-drink cocktails would result in gin & tonics that were overly-sweet sugar bubbles with booze, instead, most canned gin & tonics have tended to respect both the gin, with its range of botanicals, and the quality of a proper tonic, which ought to be both slightly bitter and slightly sweet.
Here’s a look at Bombay Sapphire’s spin on the concept.
Bombay Sapphire Gin & Tonic – The canned Bombay Sapphire Gin & Tonic provides an example of how RTD cocktails can be done well, if not perfectly. Popping the top, a burst of citrus hits the nose, followed by piney juniper. With a sip, the citrus comes first, tasting like a lemon drop, while evergreen notes follow. Coriander and almonds, which are among Bombay Sapphire’s botanicals, can be teased out, but they are very subtle. A light, enjoyable bitterness closes the experience. The carbonation is what seems a touch off balance here: a bit too high for drinking right out of the can and a bit too low when poured over a glass filled with ice. Also, I’m surprised that a RTD cocktail made with Bombay Sapphire clocks in at such a low abv when the gin is higher proof (94 proof) than most others. But overall, this is a legit cocktail that’s priced right. 5.9% abv. B / $13 per four-pack of 250ml cans
Bombay Sapphire Gin & Tonic Light – On the nose, Bombay’s Gin & Tonic Light is identical to the regular version with citrus coming first along with piney juniper. Hitting the palate, however, the flavor of artificial sweetener is really quite strong, dominating the cocktail. The lemon notes that are so nice in the standard edition are almost completely hidden by this unpleasant, artificial flavor. And while the juniper can be picked out, it is also hidden. Oddly, Bombay’s Gin & Tonic Light isn’t cloyingly sweet, though the artificial, unpleasant bitterness of the sweetener is overpowering. As with the regular Gin & Tonic, the carbonation on the Light is a bit off balance. The Light can offers 33% fewer calories, coming in at only 90, but the cost in flavor is just too high. C- / $13 per four-pack of 250 ml cans