ISW June Tasting: Gin Filler

Meininger International Spirits Award ISW is looking for the perfect matches in Gin & Tonic.

New territory at the ISW: For the first time, the Meininger International Spirits Award ISW was dedicated to the combination of spirits and matching fillers. The search was on for the perfect matches. Over 150 combinations of almost 30 different gins with six different tonic brands from Schweppes and Goldberg were put on the tasting jury's table.

In the blind tasting, the judges were each given 5 cl of gin freshly mixed with 15 cl of tonic water on exactly five ice cubes and served without garnish. Three different tonic waters from Schweppes and Goldberg each entered the competition.

The classic tonic waters of the two brands formed the ideal basis for comparison.

From the market leader Schweppes, the Dry Tonic with reduced sugar content and refreshing effervescence and the completely new Herbal Tonic, which convinces with fine herbal notes, also competed. The new quality will perspectively also be available in 0.2-liter bottles, for example for the bar scene.

In addition to the flagship tonic water, Goldberg also entered its own Mediterranean Tonic with refreshing herbal aromas and citrus and orange notes, as well as the Japanese Yuzu Tonic, with the unmistakable aroma of the yuzu fruit..

For the first time in the almost 20-year history of ISW, we no longer blind tasted and evaluated just the pure spirit, but in combination with various fillers,' explains ISW Director Degustation Christian Wolf. 'Of course, the anonymity of the samples was also guaranteed here, so that any influence by names or reputation of certain brands was excluded.'

A difficult task for the taster round from spirit connoisseurs and bar experts such as the Hamburg bar icon Uwe Christiansen or Mixology editor-in-chief Nils Wrage. First, the gins were tasted pure and analysed aromatically using a specially developed ISW evaluation scheme. This was followed at short intervals by the six gin & tonic combinations with the respective base gin.

The task of the jury was now to evaluate how certain tonic waters change the characteristics of the gin, emphasize or suppress certain flavours, and to choose a Perfect Match for the respective gin with a specific tonic water.

Schweppes Dry Tonic emerged from the tasting as the winner in terms of versatility, with eight combinations accounting for the most perfect matches. The dry, tangy taste was well received by the experts and opened up exciting new flavours in some gins, which sometimes remained undiscovered in the pure tasting.

But the traditional tonics also performed very well, with five respectively six perfect matches. The typical tonic taste, which every consumer is familiar with, harmonizes not without reason with a wide range of gin varieties, leaving them room to develop and play out their flavours.

The Goldberg Mediterranean Tonic was also able to generate four perfect matches and also shows itself to be versatile. Schweppes' Herbal Tonic was judged to be aromatically overloaded in some combinations, but nevertheless emerged as the jury favorite in two cases. This again shows the enormous variety of flavors in the gin sector.

The Japanese Yuzu Tonic elicited mixed reactions from the tasters. The very distinctive style with concise sweetness was not preferred by a few jurors in individual combinations. But in the right mix, the yuzu tonic is able to convince one or the other palate.

In the process, it crystallized that there are both gins that harmonize with various tonics and can always prevail due to their strong basic aromas, as well as gins that bring somewhat more fragile aromas with them and are dependent on a finely tuned sparring partner in the filler area.

"Gin is drunk to a far predominant part in combination with tonic, so that we would like to offer here both the consumers and the trade, the catering trade and bar scene with this competition a small assistance", so tasting leader Christian Wolf finally.

All information on the tasted gins and the Perfect Matches can be found on the ISW results page:…


About Meininger's International Spirits Award ISW

The international spirits competition was launched 18 years ago by Meininger Verlag. Until 2020, spirits experts from all over the world gathered once a year in Neustadt an der Weinstraße to taste and evaluate spirits of all kinds from all over the world. With the new orientation towards a monthly, theme-specific tasting format, the competition guarantees an even more detailed tasting and assessment of the submitted spirits by a proven jury of experts, now focusing specifically on special spirits categories.

Meininger's International Spirits Award ISW is one of the most important spirits competitions in the world today. With its tasting methodology, the competition sets new standards in the field of spirits evaluation. Based on the international 100-point scheme, the spirits are not evaluated comparatively, but individually according to appearance, smell and taste by a jury of experts without knowledge of the producer. In addition, the competition describes each tasted spirit sensorially in terms of the aromas and attributes typical of the respective competition category. From this, an aroma diagram is created that is comprehensible and understandable for distillers and consumers and gives a first impression of the flavour of the spirit.

Founded in 1903 in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Meininger Verlag is one of the oldest German specialist publishers. The company specialises in particular in the wine and spirits sector. Internationally, Meininger Verlag has made a successful name for itself with the MUNDUS VINI Grand International Wine Award. In addition to well-known trade magazines, the media company organises trade fairs, industry events and trade congresses. The portfolio of Meininger Verlag also includes FINEST SPIRITS in Munich, the trade fair for premium spirits with an international festival character.

About Schweppes
Schweppes is not the market leader in bitter lemonades for nothing. In 1783, jeweller Jacob Schweppe perfected a process for the industrial production of carbonated mineral water. Since then, Schweppes has stood for exceptional taste experiences and consistent premium quality.

Only natural and carefully treated raw materials are used in the production process, as well as elaborately extracted, high-quality essences that ensure consistent quality and set Schweppes apart from the competition. The brand currently appears in nine classic varieties as well as the Schweppes Zero and Fruity Range, each in three varieties. In addition to the two tonics - Indian and Dry - Schweppes recently launched the new Herbal Tonic Water, further expanding its in-house tonic expertise.


About Goldberg & Sons
In addition to the classic GOLDBERG tonic water - containing chinine, with a slightly bitter note, subtle sweetness and with light citrus aromas - GOLDBERG has developed several other creations in recent years to round off the portfolio. At the same time, all our tonics and bitter lemonades have a fresh and pronounced carbonic acid, which is present in the entire variety of containers. Whether in glass bottles or PET containers, the carbonic acid is retained for a long time and freshens up cocktails and long drinks.

The GOLDBERG Japanese Yuzu Tonic was developed together with Jimmy Barrat, World Class Finalist and bar manager of Zuma Dubai. With the strong aromatic scent of yuzu fruit, the fruity-floral aromas, delicate bitters and subtle sweetness come through very well.

GOLDBERG Mediterranean Tonic: GOLDBERG Mediterranean Tonic: Four hand-picked botanicals give this premium filler its distinctive character with Mediterranean nuances. Thyme, rosemary and citrus and orange notes provide an intense taste experience. The design interprets a light blue of the Mediterranean like the pastel yellow that reflects the sun on the label. With our high perfectly balanced carbon dioxide content (10g/L), our perlage serves excellently as a flavor transmitter, which excellently brings the aroma of the respective spirit to the fore. Our balanced sweetness and bitterness also ensures a harmonious taste picture.

A feeling of happiness of the senses for a Mediterranean flair in the glass for special moments of pleasure. Mysterious, sincere and unforgettable, it is the perfect filler for a light floral gin or as a light aperitif with other low-ABV spirits such as Aperol or Vermouth.

MBG GROUP is one of the leading groups of companies in the field of beverage marketing and development in Germany. MBG is brand owner of SCAVI & RAY WINERY, SALITOS, effect®, 9 MILE Vodka, ACQUA MORELLI, HENDERSON AND SONS, Goldberg & Sons, SEARS GIN, JOHN'S NATURAL CORDIALS, DOS MAS, etc.

MBG generates an annual turnover of over 200 million euros with its 250 employees and its entire portfolio of own and distributor brands.


Press contact:
Nicole Zeisset
Meininger Verlag GmbH
Maximilianstr. 7-15
67433 Neustadt/Germany
Tel.: +49 6321 89 08 94
E-Mail: [email protected]

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jury member Uwe Christiansen
award ceremony perfect matches