With gin’s renewed popularity amongst the cocktail crowd it was inevitable that its natural companion, the humble tonic water, should undergo an equally sophisticated transformation.
A number of trendy new tonic brands using traditional recipes of real quinine and natural sweetners with blends of different herbs, spices and fruits have hit the shelves in recent years.
If all these beautifully branded beverages have left you scratching your head as to which will make the perfect G&T, here’s our guide to the new class of tonic water.
The history of tonic water
Ever since British officers serving in India in the 18th century added water and sugar to their quinine to make the malaria treatment more palatable, tonic water has been a part of the colonial drinking tradition.
It didn’t take long for the officers to work out that adding lemon or lime and a hit of gin made the taking of quinine positively pleasurable, and one of the world’s favourite sundowner cocktails was born.
The new wave of tonic waters
- Fever Tree Mediterranean
Flavoured with notes of the Mediterranean including lemon, thyme and rosemary with a delicate quinine bitterness this adds complexity and citrus to a traditional Gin and Tonic.
The lemongrass here creates a bitter lemon tempered with sugary sweetness and a good quinine dryness. Perfect for a traditional G&T taste.
- 6 O’clock Tonic
Great designer packaging is backed up with a not-to-sweet tonic with a dry, leafy flavour and good notes of quinine.
This is a sweet tonic with strong lemon flavour which a slight quinine taste does little to balance. Good if you like a sweet note to your G&T.
- East Imperial Tonic
An authentic quinine flavour made from East Ocean Javanese quinine is balanced with sweet caramel.
- Indi & Co Botanical Tonic Water
Citric notes of kaffir lime, lemon and orange with cardamom create an authentic Indian flavour with a satisfying quinine dryness.
- Thomas Henry Tonic Water
Light lemon freshness with a dry quinine finish and very little sweetness make this a great tonic for a crisp, dry G&T.
Schhhh… you know who
A word of caution for those looking to better the traditional G&T served by your parents. A recent blind taste test by leading food and drink writers and bar owners featured in The Telegraph unanimously selected the old favourite Schweppes Indian Tonic Water as the ultimate tonic for a G&T.
- Pair your preferred tonic with the best of the new range of craft gins
- Discover the new wave in water health drinks
- Learn how to mix the perfect cocktail with a mixology masterclass at Constance Halaveli’s Jing Bar.