Just the tonic!
John’s Premium Tonic Water
Whilst looking for potential tonic waters to try at a tasting I was helping to arrange at Graphic Bar, I came across a gentleman making tonic water syrup in Arizona, USA. John, of John’s Premium Tonic Water, was kind enough to send us over some samples and it was met with great excitement by those attending the tasting. Having experimented with making my own tonic water before, I was one of them.
John runs The Tuck Shop restaurant in Arizona and seems to be an almost life-long fan of the Gin & Tonic. He explains that, whilst people may spend a lot of money on top-shelf gin or vodka, they then choose to mix with it the closest tonic to hand and not one that necessarily brings out the best in their chosen spirit.
John’s tonic is packaged as a syrup; this both reduces the cost of shipping and stops the water from going flat during transit (John ships internationally). Interestingly, I think that it was in this concentrated form that Tonic Water was originally shipped around the British Empire, as well as in crystalline or powder form (thanks to Louis for this tidbit of information!).
John’s tonic syrup contains Agave Syrup to sweeten, dried Cinchona Bark, and a variety of other fruits and spices, such as lemongrass (also used by Fentiman’s and myself).
John suggests a 6:1 ratio of soda water to syrup and he prefers dispensing the former using a soda syphon. I imagine, however, that the syrup could be added directly to the syphon along with the water and carbonated along with it, producing tonic water straight from the syphon.
I decided to taste the tonic syrup with soda, in a Gin & Tonic and in a GT Turbo (a compacted Gin & Tonic served at Purl in Marylebone).
On its own, the tonic water was tart and sharp, with some great herbal notes. It tastes unlike anything available in both the budget and premium commercial tonic markets.
Gin & Tonic
John’s tonic syrup makes a lovely Gin & Tonic; it really brings out the best from the tonic, so even if you’re not a fan of water on its own, do still try it with gin as it is quite a different drink. I found it to be very enjoyable, and, once you have got over the unusual colour, I doubt you will ever look at the tonic water premixes the same way again. This is a must-try for all G&T lovers.
GT Turbo (created by Purl)
Gin, Tonic Syrup, Lime Juice, Orange Bitters – shake with ice.
Mrs. B really liked this. It was a lot silkier than I had expected. The flavours started with lime, before moving to spicy and herbal notes and finishing with the trademark bitterness of quinine. Mrs. B described the increase in bitterness as a “graceful crescendo” that finished just before the drink became too bitter.
I’m really pleased that I and the other folks at the tasting got the chance to try John’s Premium Tonic Syrup and it has made me think about making my own syrup again, as well as about other ways in which the concentrated syrup can be used.
I would definitely recommend it to friends and fellow enthusiasts, as it is likely to open your eyes to, not only a new flavour of tonic, but also more potential uses of it in your drinks.
John ships internationally and you can order from his website at: http://johnstonic.weebly.com/.
For a tonic tasting please visit: www.summerfruitcup.com/tonic