Since our last update in 2012, we’ve reviewed a lot more Tonic waters and syrups. Being one of our most popular features (ever) written, we felt it time to update based on several years of additional research. As always, you can check out our entire tonic review archive and search for your personal favorites.
A couple of quick considerations and notes: The list does not correspond directly with our star ratings (though there are many highly rated tonics on here). It instead looks at a tonic and how well it works in a wide range of G&T’s. It’s a guideline for what might be the most versatile, general recommendation. For those looking for something more specific, there are lots of excellent tonics that don’t appear here, even though we love them.
Also, tonic waters and syrups appear side by side on this year’s list, though we may break them out in the future. I’m curious to hear what you think, do you consider tonic waters and syrups side by side? Or are they their own thing? Let me know in the comments. Without further ado, here’s your top 10 for 2015.
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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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Whenever I hear something like “it’s not possible to do something!” [particularly in the kitchen], it sounds to me like a challenge.
With carbonated liqueurs making appearances now in liquor stores, the most logical next step in my opinion is carbonated spirits. The logic in this is clear: it seems that more serious cocktail craft is here to stay. And with that, more folks drinking “neat” or heady drinks made mostly of alcohol with a single block of ice in it. Cocktail craft is about emphasis of the spirits and high quality ingredients. Diluting your spirit with extra ice, water, or worse soda water is something best left to dive bars and amateur night. Carbonating spirits seems the perfect way to get that burst of fizz that makes effervescent drinks such a pleasure to enjoy without shifting attention away from the alcohol. You see where I’m going with this?
I recently got two refills for my soda stream carbonator. So it was time to go to work.
On Process and some misunderstandings
First and foremost, yes it is possible to carbonate spirits but “The solubility of CO2 in all of the alcohol…decreases as temperature increases and pressure decreases”* There is less surface tension in alcohol than in water, so the higher the proof of your spirit, the quicker the carbonation will dissipate; therefore there are a couple of key things to consider when making a carbonate spirit.
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