Here’s how tinkering with tonic water can spruce up your favourite spirit
By Sam Wylie-Harris. Published 2020-03-31
And why tonics are making their mark on the cocktail scene, says Sam Wylie-Harris.
Gin drinkers have never had it so good. We’re in the midst of a gin craze with funky new labels popping up all the time, each with distinctive botanicals to amplify the juniper-infused spirit.
But there’s another driving force behind the boom in craft gin – and you can’t have one without the other.
Mixing and pairing tonic water is now a thing. Sales are at record levels and with the premiumization of tonic water, the flavour map has never tasted so good – or been so broad.
And when you consider three quarters of your G&T is tonic, it makes total sense to build around the intriguing flavour notes – or ramp up a gin’s unique characters with an exquisitely crafted tonic.
“Craft tonics have been around for a while now. Jumping on the ever-growing gin category, producers have been quick to create tonics that pair particularly well with different styles of gins,” says award-winning bartender Rich Woods (aka @The_CocktailGuy), who has teamed up with tonic and mixer brand Franklin & Sons.
“Not stopping there, and with an ever-thirsty appetite for bitter and low ABV drinks, we’re starting to see tonics being created for particular styles of spirits such as vermouth and sherry, pre-bottled [or in a can], ready to drink and serve.
“Coupled with the rise of consumer awareness and a creative desire to entertain at home, these may be on shelves before you know it,” says Woods.
Here’s how to make Woods’ bespoke jasmine and grapefruit Eleganté
Ingredients: 35ml Sake, 20ml jasmine tea syrup, 3 dashes tarragon and grapefruit bitters, 50-60ml Franklin & Sons Pink Grapefruit Tonic with Bergamot.
To make the Jasmine Tea Syrup: Infuse 6g Jasmine tea with 700ml sugar syrup and leave to infuse overnight. Strain and bottle.
To make the Tarragon and Grapefruit Bitters: Infuse 30g (one standard pack) tarragon in Grapefruit Bitters (these can be bought from Amazon). Leave overnight, then strain and bottle.
Method: Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the ingredients. Shake vigorously to dilute and chill. Strain into a coupette glass and top with tonic. Garnish with grapefruit zest.