Tag archives for: tonic

Another Batch of Tonic Water

I made a batch of tonic water syrup a couple of years ago and, though it was a success, there were a couple of things I found slightly off-putting in the result. Specifically:

  • I didn't really like the all-spice.
  • I didn't really like the lemongrass
  • I thought there was too much citric acid.

So I tried another batch of tonic water this year with no all-spice or lemongrass, and a bit less citric acid. I also simplified the recipe somewhat, using plain sugar instead of agave syrup and omitting the citrus juice (though keeping the zest).

Here's the one I ended up using (the bark is still from Herboristerie Desjardins):

Read more

Adventures With Tonic Water

Some people from work invited me to the Dominion Tavern a week or two ago. I was persuaded to try the gin and tonic, as I was told that the tonic water was homemade.

I ordered one. The drink that came was orange in colour and looked vaguely like tang. In other words, it did not look like a gin and tonic. It tasted, however, unmistakeably like a gin and tonic - a rather good gin and tonic at that, and this comes from a guy who's not particularly enthusiastic about gin and tonics.

I was inspired to try this out myself. The active ingredient in tonic water, giving it its characteristic bitter taste, is a substance called quinine. Back in the day, quinine was used as a painkiller and malarial treatment. In the (rather large) quantities required for medicinal purposes, it was known for its strong, unpleasant bitterness, so people started mixing it with gin to make it more palatable. As time wore on people started consuming quinine less and less as a medicine and more and more as a flavouring agent, especially in the quantities used for modern day tonic water, which is many times less than required to receive any therapeutic benefit (you'd have to drink something like 8L of modern day tonic water to approach even just one dose of malarial treatment).

Read more