This is something we’ve never done before, but have heard from our readers that they would like to see something like this. We’ve reviewed quite a few Tonic Waters, but which is the best?
Or more appropriately, which do we think is the best at this point in 2012? Let’s take a closer look. But unlike gin, we have some disambiguation in here. This list will contain syrups [which could use, but do not require soda water] and regular classic pre-carbonated tonic waters. So your mileage may vary depending on which you might prefer…
Todd Thrasher’s Tonic
If you’ve come around to Tonic syrups, then Thrasher’s tonic is worth seeking out. One of the best blends of flavor, herbs and sweetness. An easy favorite for me this year.Review Quote: “I’d say many tonic syrups are for people who already love the taste of quinine and rich herbal concoctions. Thrasher’s tonic, not so much. Its sweet, nicely balanced, and has an appeal that spans a wider array of drinkers.”
Fever Tree Tonic
Perhaps the best of the pre-carbonated tonics in my opinion.
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Some things strike me as just being plain “not fair.”
Here in the states we have one kind of Schweppes Tonic Water for sale. Its pretty much exactly what you expect: saccharine, sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, and overall pretty much indistinguishable from other plastic bottle tonic waters available in supermarkets across America.
But overseas, there is this other kind of tonic water called “Indian Tonic Water.” Which (spoiler) means the exact same thing. It is simply put, tonic water. However, taste-wise it is radically different from anything we have on the mainstream US market.
It is slightly sweet, with a syrupy undertone, cut cleanly by a brisk dose of quinine that tastes at least two or three times more intense than the Schweppes I usually buy. The less-intense sweetness means that when you mix if it with gin, a lot more of the gin flavor actually comes through. Overall though, it makes for a much more bitter cocktail.
This is the kind of tonic that really made the lemon/lime a requirement. With not a lot of sweet, it leaves room for the natural sugars of a citrus fruit to make themselves known; whereas with your usual tonic water you might not even need that.
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I know, most of us bloggers spend all of this time crafting these stellar “food-porn” pictures of our gin (The Gin Blog does it best in my opinion, every drink looks immaculate. Some of their G&Ts look like my finest dreams…). We use only the finest pictures and the finest ingredients. But what I’m about to post right here is the honest truth. Sometimes we don’t use the finest ingredients. Sometimes on a Friday night you just want an honest to god Gin & Tonic.
Fellow gin-lovers, please don’t judge me too harshly. We all know its true.
Yep, even the lime juice came from a plastic lime.
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Oh, old friend. The much maligned “plastic bottle” tonic water. You know, the one that the label peels off in the back of your local bodega…
In all seriousness, in many places this IS tonic water. It’s the mainstream tonic water that you can find anywhere. And to be honest, it’s not all that bad either.
Schweppes tonic is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and therefore is noticeably sweet and has the added effect of sweetening any cocktail that you put it in. Though gin purists might think that introducing a new gin drinker to a gin and tonic with high quality tonic will convince them, I find the best way is to use a tonic water that is sweet. It takes some of the edge and bite out of strong or vividly juniper gins. The quinine is noticeable and refreshing, although not as sophisticated and complex as in other gourmet tonics. It’s a one note flavor, which is pleasing and very complimentary to most gins.
Now, not to come across as a gin elitist, but Schweppes and its ilk are great tonic waters for rescuing a lower quality gin.
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