The Tasting Panel magazine

JULY 2012

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UP "Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human bur- dens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment." —Grenville Kleiser, American author S cott Beattie, the highly regarded mixologist who literally wrote the book on creating cocktails with high-quality, beautifully sourced ingredients (Artisanal Cocktails), likes to tell how he answers the question of how to make the perfect Gin and Tonic: "People ask, 'What's the best gin to use?'" Beattie says, "But the better ques- tion is, what's the best tonic, because there's a lot more tonic than gin in the drink." That was the same conclusion Charles Rolls reached after he turned around the Plymouth Gin company. Rolls had taken charge of Plymouth in 1997. It was an established, well-known brand that had lapsed into mediocrity. A year and a half later, the company was profitable again. After only four years in charge, Rolls had increased sales 14-fold. He had made the company so attractive to investors that he sold it in 2001 for what he quite modestly calls "a substantial sum." But what would come next? Rolls took his time deciding. He spent most of year flying and sailing "and doing the things I really like to do." He kept a bag packed and waiting at the back door, so that if adventure came calling, he'd be ready to say yes. "My wife said the bag was like the one she had when she was ready to give birth," Rolls says with a laugh from his London offices. After all the adventuring, Rolls came to his quite logical conclusion: If you've spent years perfecting a really excellent gin, why not tackle the tonic that gets put into it? And thus began the James Bond–like adventure that eventually produced the Fever-Tree line of mixers. Don't think that the James Bond reference is mere hyperbole. Picture this: You've decided that you are going to produce the finest tonic water in the world, and to do that you are going to need the finest quinine to make it. Quinine comes from the bark of the cinchona tree, and you find the cinchona tree in eastern Africa. So you must go there to procure it. 6 / the tasting panel / july 2012 Mixologist Scott Beattie took time out from establishing the cocktail offerings at Healdsburg, CA's new Goose & Gander restaurant to talk about the Fever-Tree line of mixers. PHOTO: JOHN CURLEY

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