In 1905, Thomas Fentiman, an iron puddler from Cleckheaton, England was approached by a fellow tradesman for a loan. A deal was struck and a recipe for botanically brewed ginger beer was provided as security. The loan was never repaid so Thomas became the owner of the unique recipe.

Thomas began using the recipe and producing botanically brewed ginger beer which he delivered door-to-door using a horse and cart for transport. His ginger beer was stored in handmade stone jars known affectionately as ‘grey hens’ which were stamped with an image of Thomas’ pet dog ‘Fearless’ after winning the ‘Crufts’ obedience class in 1933 and 1934. Fentimans botanically brewed ginger beer quickly became very popular and the family business grew, with several brewing and production facilities being opened in the North of England.

Over 100 years since Fentimans started brewing botanical drinks the business is still in the Fentimans family and is owned by the Great Grandson of Thomas Fentiman. They also continue to make their delicious natural beverages by the multi-stage botanical brewing technique. The processes have been updated and the beverages are now carbonated before being filled and pasteurised to extend the product shelf life. The one thing that has not changed is the superior quality and unsurpassed taste of their drinks.

You can buy Fentimans Tonic at most supermarkets or at DrinkSupermarket.com or on Amazon.

34 Kcal
100ml
Ingredients are Carbonated Water, Sugar, Citric Acid, Natural Flavouring, Quinine, Herbal Infusions (Juniper Berry, Kaffir Lime Leaves), Fermented Botanical Extracts: (Juniper Berry, Kaffir Lim Leaves, Lemongrass, Orris Root)

 

What the Honest Crew say …

  • Honest Paul
  • Honest Laura
  • Honest Tom
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Honest Verdict

So how does Fentimans tonic taste? Being completely honest, we would put it in the same class as Schweppes as it had none of the depth and smoothness that both Fever-Tree and Q Tonic posses.

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Our Honest Verdict … So how does Fentimans tonic taste? We immediately noticed a taste of chemical or medicinal, followed by that overwhelming sweetness. The balance of lemon was off, and pithy flavours dominated. It also seems a bit fizzier than the other tonics.Being completely honest, we would put it in the same class as Schweppes as it had none of the depth and smoothness that both Fever-Tree and Q Tonic posses.

 

What other experts say …

Juniper Diaries  says … My first impressions were those of shock and mild horror. The stuff is incredibly lemony – too lemony – in fact it is Lemongrass that is providing the overriding taste. It sort of tastes like posh lemonade (the harsh lemony stuff, not the sweet cloying type) but the quinine gives it a chemically post-mix taste. At £1 a bottle, I was heartily disappointed. But, its main purpose is to be mixed with gin and as I learned with the Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water, first impressions can be deceptive and I had to reserve judgment until I had used the Fentimans for its intended purpose, to make a G&T.  Continue reading review …

Gin Time  says … The mixture stands for long enough to extract every element of flavour and allow those flavours to marry. It is then pasteurised to stabilise the volatile oils and fix the flavours. There’s 0.5% trace alcohol in Fentimans Tonic as a result of the brewing process so it blends with the spirit instead of diluting it. But most important is the taste. Of course it’s impossible to know exactly what nineteenth century tonic waters were like but with Fentimans we get some idea of why this drink took the Victorian world by storm. Continue reading review …

The Gin Blog  says … After tasting this tonic on its own, I was quite dubious. The heavy lemon nature of it really makes you wonder if you’re drinking tonic water, but as I found out, it is very pleasing with the right gin. I later tried this with Hendricks and some cucumber and it stood up to the test of a lighter gin very well indeed. This will tonic will probably not be for traditionalists, but I can certainly see some great combinations if you are prepared to do a bit of experimenting!  Continue reading review …

The Gin is In  says … Citrus is a natural pairing with gin therefore the citrus notes from Fentimans Tonic are rarely unwelcome. I’ll say that I do find its overall effect slightly more lemony than lemony and herbal, especially with botanically complex gins. I think its at its best dressing up a gin lacking in flavour or adding a slightly contemporary note to a more classic gin. That being said, Fentimans is a good tonic water. People who like it will like it because of the pleasant effervescence and crisp bitter finish with a balanced sweetness. People who don’t like it will think that it distracts too much from the gin.  Continue reading review …

Image – Fentimans