Mass-produced tonic water typically contains the devil--by devil I mean high-fructose corn syrup, and artisanal tonic waters like Qtonic and Fever Tree cost ~$3.00 for a 4oz. bottle. I am already hooked on Hendricks gin--delightful but pricey, and had taken to drinking it with sparkling water and lime but missed the bitter note of tonic. I stumbled upon Jeffrey Morgenthaler's recipe by chance and decided to give it a go. The recipe calls for chinchona bark powder which I was able to source at Tenzing Momo. They also have a wonderful selection of herbs and spices and I received my order in <5 days.
The recipe calls for a variety of citrus, allspice, chinchona bark powder and citric acid. Crap! Citric acid? I didn't read the recipe thoroughly. All was not lost because I remembered I had this....
First ingredient? Citric acid. Booyah! It also contains dehydrated lime juice and lime oil so I omitted the fresh lime. The ingredients are simmered in 4 cups of water for 20 minutes. You end up with this:
Looks like mud. Tastes super bitter. I was a little concerned at this point. After straining initially through a strainer and then a coffee press the resultant liquid was still opaque but free of large pieces of zest and bark. At this point you add agave nectar at a ratio of 3/4 cup agave nectar for each cup of the mixture. After straining I had about two cups mixture and not quite 1.5 cups of agave nectar so I added a cup of cane sugar and simmered til dissolved. This mixture was still fairly bitter---did I need a spoonful of high fructose corn syrup to help the medicine go down?
No sir! After mixing using Morgenthaler's proportions: 3/4 oz. syrup, 1.5 oz. gin, 2 oz. sparkling water, I took a sip of the best gin and tonic ever! Chin-chin!