8 mixers to amplify your drinking – and the spirits to pair them with

With the highball set to continue its rise, we taste test the Double Dutch soft drink range to find the perfect spirit and mixer matches – from classic pairings to surprising combinations set to amplify your spring and summer sipping

Words by Laura Foster in partnership with Double Dutch

double dutch highball with tequila
Double Dutch's Cucumber Margarita Soda with Chilli may have been created to pair with Tequila, but there's a wealth of spirits this versatile mixer can match with

In the world of drinks, trends are ever-evolving. One minute, mezcal is the hot new thing, the next everyone is drinking Espresso Martinis. There is one trending drink, however, that has been quietly, steadily growing in fashion – and that is the highball. It’s a simple, elegant combination of a spirit and mixer, and the usual proportions are one part spirit to three parts mixer.

When the majority of a highball consists of the soft drink element, it is of the utmost importance to use a quality product that helps enhance and complement the characteristics of the spirits in question. To assist us in this important quest, a wave of soft drink brands have launched, bringing new ideas and approaches to this exciting category. Among them is Double Dutch, which burst onto the scene in 2015.

double dutch founders
Joyce and Raissa de Haas are the twins and entrepreneurs behind Double Dutch's range of tonics and sodas

Founders Joyce and Raissa de Haas say that they created Double Dutch to break out of the confines of traditional tonic and soda mixers. With the strapline ‘never drink dull’, it’s clear that this company is on a mission to create new and unusual flavour combinations, from its subtle, refreshing Cucumber and Watermelon soda water to the gently fruity, not-so-bitter Cranberry and Ginger tonic water. Using natural ingredients and low sugar in their drinks, flavours are nuanced and complex, resulting in an exciting drinking proposition. When it comes to mixing, this range isn’t designed to be placed in a box – anything goes and experimentation is welcomed.

With this in mind, we took eight of the Double Dutch range and put them through their paces with a plethora of spirits – from raicilla to Cognac. Read on to find the winning combinations that we uncovered, set to transform your highball drinking this spring and summer.

double dutch bloody mary

Bloody Mary Soda with Pepper 

Tomato, celery, pepper spice… this surprising soda ticks all the Bloody Mary boxes, minus that occasionally cloying sensation you get from your average tomato juice. It’s light, frothy and fantastic. A natural bedfellow for vodka and Tequila (if you haven’t already tried a Bloody Maria, whereby the vodka is switched out for Tequila, you must), this soda also mixes brilliantly with the malty flavours found in whisky and genever.
Try it with: Rutte Old Simon Genever or Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch whisky

cranberry ginger tonic

Cranberry and Ginger Tonic

 This is tonic water, but not as you know it. In most tonics, the bitter flavour of the quinine dominates. Here, however, the gentle fruity crunch of the cranberry comes to the fore, while the ginger and quinine spice mingle in the background. Recommended by Double Dutch for dark rums, Cognacs and floral gins, our star pairing actually involves Plantation’s complex white rum. The subtle fruit of the tonic amps up the red fruit characteristics of the rum, resulting in a pleasingly thirst-quenching whole of a highball.
Try it with: Plantation 3 Stars white rum

cucumber margarita soda

Cucumber Margarita Soda with Chilli

This savoury-sweet soda may have been created to pair with Tequila and Cointreau to produce a sparkling take on a Margarita, but its versatility knows no bounds. Its clean Persian lime, cucumber notes and rootsy chilli kick sit well with Aperol, Cognac, American corn whiskey, Mediterranean gin, spiced rum… the list goes on.
Try it with: Aperol, Balcones Baby Blue Corn Whisky, Remy Martin VSOP Cognac

double dutch cucumber and watermelon

Cucumber and Watermelon

Redolent of hot summer days filled with crisp, refreshing salads and platters of watermelon, this super-fresh soft is perfect sipped alone save for a garnish of basil. For those wanting to explore its mixing credentials, however, the earthiness of a quality unaged Tequila provides the perfect foil, with the green cucumber notes playing off the agave just perfectly.
Try it with: Vivir Tequila Blanco or Ocho Blanco Tequila

ginger beer

Ginger Beer

With its mix of three different types of ginger, this is one fiery offering, with a sleek acidic lime note cutting through the layered depth charge of spice. The strength of this ginger beer means it needs a spirit that will stand up to its robust flavour profile, making it perfect for dark rums and vodkas.
Try it with: That Boutique-y Rum Company Signature Blend #2

indian tonic water

Indian Tonic Water 

Gently bitter and with a soft, bubbly mousse, Double Dutch’s tonic starts with citrusy pink grapefruit and pink peppercorn flavours before a classic quinine character wins through. Obviously perfect with gin, vodka and Tequila, the mixing opportunities extend way beyond that. The light citrus-smoke flavour profile of Hakushu Japanese whisky is teased apart and amplified; while mixing with Martini Riserva results in a more approachable alternative to a Campari and tonic, bursting with red fruits.
Try it with: Martini Riserva Speciale Bitter or Hakushu 12YO whisky

skinny tonic water

Skinny Tonic Water

Made to the same recipe as the Indian Tonic Water, but with less sugar, the flavour profile is a touch more lemon-citrus, lemon pith and pine needles, with quinine on the finish. As well as the usual white spirits pairings, this made a delightful bourbon and tonic, with the caramel characteristics in the soft, sweet Yellowstone Bourbon coming to the fore.
Try it with: Yellowstone Select bourbon whiskey

double dutch pomegranate and basil

Pomegranate and Basil

There’s something deep and decadent about this mixer, the velvety pomegranate enhanced by the herbal hit of basil. Its complexity provides versatility, with the option of exploring smoky agave spirits such as mezcal and raicilla, or going to the lighter end of the flavour spectrum with vermouth or citrusy spirits. Easy Mixt, a citrus liqueur designed for versatile mixing, adds a bright, moreish pop to this gorgeous soda, and makes for a low-abv option to boot.
Try it with: Easy Mixt liqueur or Balam Costa Raicilla

Find out more about the full Double Dutch mixer range here