Making your own Tonic Syrup is not as hard as you may think and the results can be extremely beneficial just as much for yourself as for your customers. Being able to create different varieties of tonics allows you to tailor make them and highlight the flavours you want to and pair them with different gins or cocktails. It will also give your service a whole lot more of a premium feel since today’s high end cocktail world is ruled by craft and artisanal liquids such as syrups, shrubs or even vermouths and amaros in some cases.
If you decide to embark on this journey there is a few ground rules you will have to follow. There are two main ingredients that you will certainly need when creating a tonic. One would be the famous Cinchona Bark, which will give the syrup its distinctive bitterness and the other is Citric Acid, which will provide the necessary sour balance. Once you get this right you will have a whole world of ingredients (spices, fruits, herbs) to play around with and create the flavours that you are after.
In this article we will share two recipes to help you start with your very own experiment. The first is a classic while the second is a more experimental tonic syrup which represents perfectly how you can play around with the ingredients to match the tonic with a specific gin that enhances its flavours. At the end of this article we will give you a cocktail recipe we created for Half Hitch Gin using our Earl Grey Tonic Syrup.
Basic Tonic Syrup
8g Cinchona Bark
18g Citric Acid
Zest of 1 lime, 1 lemon and 1 orange
2 whole cardamom pods
5 juniper berries
5 red peppercorns
Half a teaspoon of dried lavender
Earl Grey Tonic Syrup
8g Cinchona Bark
21g Citric Acid
8g Loose Leaf Earl Grey Tea
12g Orange Peel
8 black peppercorns
Once all your ingredients are ready, put them in an airtight container, give it a shake and let it rest in a fridge for 3 days while repeating the shaking at least a couple of times a day.
After this time has passed the wait is over and your tonic is almost ready. Strain your mixture through a muslin cheesecloth to avoid getting any of the Cinchona bark in your syrup which can be poisonous if eaten. The final step is to combine your mixture with 150ml Rich Simple Syrup (Sugar-Water ratio 2:1) and gently whisk together. You now officially have your very own tonic syrup so pour it in an empty bottle and keep refrigerated for a longer shelf life.
Finally as promised here is the recipe for a cocktail that we created with our Earl Grey tonic in collaboration with the amazing Half Hitch Gin of Camden. The main ingredients of the tonic (Earl Grey Tea, Orange Peel and Black Pepper) are all present to enhance the similar flavours of this Ultra Premium Gin and create a beautiful harmony while mixed together.
40ml Half Hitch Gin
15ml Earl Grey Tonic
10ml Lime Juice
Shaken and strained over crushed ice
Garnished with a dried lime wheel