Cocktails with… 6 O’Clock Gin

Here is a gin that was made to go with tonic; so much so, that it even has its own tonic specifically designed to match it. I know that some gin distillers have produced their own tonic for their premixes, but this is the first time that anyone has released their tonic water separately; new ground for the tonic world.

6 O’Clock Gin and its matching Tonic Water

6 O’Clock Gin and it’s accompanying Tonic are both made by Bramley & Gage in Bristol, who are famous for their fruit liqueurs and sloe gins. 6 O’Clock Gin is bottled at 43% and contains seven botanicals, including orange peel and elderflower. As for the Tonic, along with natural quinine, it also contains essence of lemon and lime. I think this gives the tonic that extra zestiness that I like and, when I make my own, I use lemongrass to the same effect, just like John.

Why Six O’Clock? This was the time when inventor & engineer Edward Kain would enjoy his gin, but not before; in essence, this was his “cocktail hour”. In honour of his Great Grandfather, Michael, the creator of the Gin named his new spirit after this.

The Taste

#1 Gin & Tonic:
There is no other way I could start this edition of “Cocktails with…” than with the drink of this Gin. When combined, 6 O’Clock Gin and 6 O’Clock Tonic create a soft, yet flavourful drink, which is probably one of the most relaxing gin & tonics I have ever had. That is not to say that it doesn’t have much flavour, as there is, without a doubt, a distinctive mix of juniper and quinine. It really is very good.

#2 Martini:
A classic Martini with a fine balance of juniper and citrus, full of flavour and more engaging than those made with many other gins.

#3 Gimlet:
Quite a good drink, but the gin is rather hidden by the lime cordial and so it doesn’t really complement it as best as it could. There is a little juniper at the end.

#4 White Lady:
A nice little zip to this, the citrus of the gin goes well with the citrus of the lemon. It’s quite tart but rather tasty.

#5 Aviation:
6 O’Clock produces a more gin-dominant Aviation than many, with the flavour of the gin really coming through. There is a little violet at the end, but, again, not the best use of the gin.

#6 Tom Collins:
A good Collins where each main ingredient plays an equal part: refreshing and easy to enjoy.

#7 Bramble:
I really like 6 O’Clock Gin in Bramble. Each individual flavour within the drink is apparent and it’s a very easy cocktail to drink. I think it would interesting to try this using Bramley & Gage’s Blackberry Liqueur instead of Creme de Mure.

#8 Sloe & Tonic:
As this post is also about 6 O’Clock Tonic, I thought I would try it with some Bramley & Gage Organic Gin from our sloe gin tasting. I’m not usually a fan of sloe gin and tonic water, but in this case I certainly make an exception. The tonic brings out the juiciness of the gin and it’s sweeter almond flavours.

In Conclusion:
There is no question what the best drink made with 6 O’Clock Gin was: it was the gin and tonic, as you would expect. Nonetheless, it would be hard to ignore the crisp and delicious Bramble that this gin makes, or how well the tonic went with sloe gin.

6 O’Clock Gin is available for £15.99 (35cl) and £23.65 (70cl). The tonic is £3.00 for a generous 730ml bottle. Both can be purchased from Bramley & Gage’s website.


Just the tonic!

Just the tonic!

John’s Premium Tonic Water

Whilst looking for potential tonic waters to try at a tasting I was helping to arrange at Graphic Bar, I came across a gentleman making tonic water syrup in Arizona, USA. John, of John’s Premium Tonic Water, was kind enough to send us over some samples and it was met with great excitement by those attending the tasting. Having experimented with making my own tonic water before, I was one of them.

John runs The Tuck Shop restaurant in Arizona and seems to be an almost life-long fan of the Gin & Tonic. He explains that, whilst people may spend a lot of money on top-shelf gin or vodka, they then choose to mix with it the closest tonic to hand and not one that necessarily brings out the best in their chosen spirit.

John's Premium Tonic Syrup Bottle

A bottle of John’s Premium Tonic Syrup

John’s tonic is packaged as a syrup; this both reduces the cost of shipping and stops the water from going flat during transit (John ships internationally). Interestingly, I think that it was in this concentrated form that Tonic Water was originally shipped around the British Empire, as well as in crystalline or powder form (thanks to Louis for this tidbit of information!).

John’s tonic syrup contains Agave Syrup to sweeten, dried Cinchona Bark, and a variety of other fruits and spices, such as lemongrass (also used by Fentiman’s and myself).

John suggests a 6:1 ratio of soda water to syrup and he prefers dispensing the former using a soda syphon. I imagine, however, that the syrup could be added directly to the syphon along with the water and carbonated along with it, producing tonic water straight from the syphon.

The Taste

I decided to taste the tonic syrup with soda, in a Gin & Tonic and in a GT Turbo (a compacted Gin & Tonic served at Purl in Marylebone).

John's Premium Tonic Syrup Cocktails

Tonic Water

On its own, the tonic water was tart and sharp, with some great herbal notes. It tastes unlike anything available in both the budget and premium commercial tonic markets.

Gin & Tonic

John’s tonic syrup makes a lovely Gin & Tonic; it really brings out the best from the tonic, so even if you’re not a fan of water on its own, do still try it with gin as it is quite a different drink. I found it to be very enjoyable, and, once you have got over the unusual colour, I doubt you will ever look at the tonic water premixes the same way again. This is a must-try for all G&T lovers.

GT Turbo (created by Purl)

Gin, Tonic Syrup, Lime Juice, Orange Bitters – shake with ice.

Mrs. B really liked this. It was a lot silkier than I had expected. The flavours started with lime, before moving to spicy and herbal notes and finishing with the trademark bitterness of quinine. Mrs. B described the increase in bitterness as a “graceful crescendo” that finished just before the drink became too bitter.

I’m really pleased that I and the other folks at the tasting got the chance to try John’s Premium Tonic Syrup and it has made me think about making my own syrup again, as well as about other ways in which the concentrated syrup can be used.

I would definitely recommend it to friends and fellow enthusiasts, as it is likely to open your eyes to, not only a new flavour of tonic, but also more potential uses of it in your drinks.

John ships internationally and you can order from his website at:

For a tonic tasting please visit:

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Tonic Tasting Thanks

I’d just like to thank all those who cam to the Tonic Tasting @ Graphic yesterday and for Sarah, Adam and The Graphic Team for making it all happen.

For those who are interested here is the article I wrote in the summer on tasting Tonic:

I would also like to thank John of John’s Premium Tonic Syrup for kindly sending us some of his product from Arizona, USA and 6 O’Clock Gin whose tonic water went down very well. I shall be posting further notes on both before the end of the year.

Finally thank you for the unexpected response I got from all those that tried me Tea Liqueurs, a post on these should be appearing in the next few days.