I’ve had it in my head for a while that it would be interesting to make my own tonic syrup. Which is odd, because I’m not a heavy user of tonic water and I rarely drink gin & tonics.
I’ve been gathering recipes and decided to go with the one from the NY Times (referenced from Lottie + Doof), but I’d be interested in making some of the others:
- Jeffrey Morgenthaler: How to Make Your Own Tonic Water
- Portland Food and Drink: Making Tonic Water part I and part II
- Imbibe Magazine: Homemade Tonic Syrup
It’s good! Really good. It’s nice over ice, with a bit of soda water. Very herbal. We did a side-by-side tasting with John’s Premium Tonic – I didn’t have any Jack Rudy open but that’s next.
The homemade was pretty similar in flavor, but less intense. I’m sure there are things in John’s that I didn’t have in mine. John’s is darker in color and maybe has a bit more body. He uses agave nectar in his; I used simple syrup.
Nothing about it was that hard outside of:
1) Finding the cinchona bark.
2) Grinding the cinchona bark.
Supposedly you can find the bark online, but I finally found some at Duc Loi Supermarket in the Mission of all places. Mine came in chunks, and I practically wore out my spice grinder trying to get it into a powder. I got about 2/3 of it ground up, then gave up and just added the rest in chunks.
I haven’t had it in a gin and tonic yet, but I made Larry a rum and tonic (2 oz. dark rum, 1/2 oz tonic, lime) and it’s delicious. We didn’t even add soda water.
The history of quinine syrup is pretty interesting, too, and I got lost in the articles I found on it. Definitely something to make again, but hopefully I’ll find powdered cinchona bark next time.
- Quinine Syrup (NY Times)