After the invention of the world’s best-loved soft drink, Coca-Cola would have been forgiven for resting on their laurels. But far from it - they’re constantly innovating and exploring the potential for further perfection. Working with the deep flavours that make Coca-Cola ideal for matching with the darker side of spirits, they tasked four of the world’s best mixologists to come up with their own individual blends to take Coca-Cola to the next level in mixers.
First up was Max Venning - originally from Manchester, Max is a world-famous bartender, winning awards globally, opening bars including Three Sheets in East London, and initially working at the legendary 69 Colebrook Row. Max has produced the Smoky Signature Mixer - pairing perfectly with spiced rums and bolder whiskies, its flavours include the vanilla notes of ylang ylang alongside warmer notes of balsam and amber, all underpinned with smoky oak.
Alex Lawrence is just as big a name in the world of cocktails - he’s Ryan Chetiyawardana’s right hand man, and helped him to open many of his multi-award-winning bars, including Dandelyan which won pretty much everything, including the most prestigious World’s Best Bar accolade. He also makes his own gin - Porter’s Gin - which you can, of course, buy on 31DOVER. Alex created a Woody expression - it’s a mellow and subtle drink, with the earthiness of patchouli offset by the brightness of yuzu and vetiver. There’s a woodiness, of course, but it’s an elegant one, which makes Alex’s Signature Mixer perfect for pairing with golden rums or lightly smoky whiskies.
The Spicy Signature Mixer has not one but two mixing masterminds behind it - Adriana Chía, co-owner of the Antigua Compañía de las Indias, and Pippa Guy from The American Bar in London’s Savoy. They’ve used citrusy lime, ginger, spicy jalapeño, fragrant rosemary and aromatic jasmine to create a zesty and earthy mixer with a warm start and a fiery finish - it’s a versatile expression, matching with spiced rums, aged and gold tequilas, and spicy or sweet whiskies.
Last but not least, it’s the Herbal Signature mixer, developed by Antonio Naranjo of the experimental Dr Stravinsky bar in Barcelona. Born in Cuba, Naranjo has lived in Norway and Spain and won global awards both for Dr Stravinsky and for his personal bartending skills. Along with gently soothing hops and zesty lemongrass, Naranjo used the more unusual tagetes (flowers with a citrus flavour) and dill seeds to create a floral, crisp and tart mixer that elevates any lighter whisky or rum.
So - we’re ready to create our perfect drink, but where to start? Our in-house mixologist Rajan Virdee poured, tasted and tested, and matched our top 50 products with the Signature Mixer that brings out their best flavours - like Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey with the Woody Signature Mixer, or Cloven Hoof ‘Overhoof’ Spiced Rum with the Spicy flavour. This included some lighter spirits too: “I loved how the creamy body and floral nature of the Squadron 303 Calvados Finish Vodka was offset by the light zesty/fresh notes and acidity of the Herbal Signature.” said Raj.
Overall, he was really excited by the contents of the bottles: “I was surprised at how nuanced and integrated the Spicy and Woody flavours were. They were a lot more sophisticated than I was initially expecting from a soft drink product. Honestly, there’s something quite quaint and nostalgic about drinking dark spirits with Coca Cola Signature Mixers - it's like being able to revisit a university house party experience with an adult palate!”
And if you prefer a lighter spirit in your glass, Raj suggests switching up your G&T - “The Herbal Signature's botanical flavouring complimented some of the gins really well.”
The best part? We’re giving away two bottles of the perfectly-paired Signature Mixers with each bottle of our top 50 spirits, so you can try it for yourself - although you should always trust Raj, he’s a mixing magician.
If you want to read more about the secret history of Coca-Cola (including its surprising origin story...) hit up our blog here.