The first tonic water I’m going to review if the first craft tonic I’d ever tried. Before Q tonic, it was just your standard supermarket brands. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with them, and it’s not as if they don’t have their merits, but Q tonic represented a big change to the game for me. The quality of the gin was no longer the only consideration. How does the tonic work? Is the tonic right for this gin? Is the tonic even good? Let’s begin.
Q tonic began in Brooklyn, NY when Jordan Sillbert (as the oft-repeated story goes) realized to his dismay he was drinking top shelf gin with tonic water with a peeling label that he found in the back of the cooler at his neighborhood bodega. He created Q tonic as an answer to this. Gone is the high fructose corn syrup and in is agave nectar. Real, high quality quinine is used as well. Gone are plastic bottles, in are classy glass bottles. Up, up, up goes the cost.
My first reaction many years ago was that “Q tonic is bitter.” I still think it is, but not in a negative fashion.
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Let it be known that I am a fan of interesting flavors in my gin. I don’t shy away from a fruit or obscure herb here and there. That’s why I was ecstatic to try the Beefeater Summer Gin which boasts the power of “elderflower, black currant, and hibiscus.”
The tasting notes are decidedly floral, but the combination of flavors remind me more strongly of pomegranate than of Hibiscus and Elderflower. Elderflower might have been included only as a mixing hint (as in “hint hint: this would be great with St. Germain’s Elderflower Liqueur”). Fans of Beefeater’s classic London Dry Gin will not be disappointed as it is unmistakably Beefeater in taste and mouth feel. At first I could tell immediately that this was Beefeater, and then the fruit/floral notes come in at the end, finishing in a bit more crowd-pleasing fashion.
I would classify this as one of the “gateway” gins for non-gin-drinkers. It would probably mix well with Pama or St. Germain’s. The floral quality makes it a complimentary addition to an Aviation, and a satisfying, if unspectacular gin and tonic. Overall, its refreshing to see Beefeater expanding its reach with craft gins such as summer gin and Beefeater 24, but I would say for just a few dollars more you can find a gin that is much more satisfying and one that won’t be leaving shelves in a few short weeks.
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