Articles Tagged: tonic

Tonic Water

Haber’s Spicy Hibiscus Tonic Syrup


Russet in hue, Haber’s Hibiscus Spicy Hibiscus Tonic is the more floral offering to complement their primary offering Haber’s Tonic. Crafted in my very neighborhood, I’ve seen Haber’s locally at a few bars and small local stores. I included their tonic in my tonic syrup giveaway this past fall, and when I did, they sent me a preview of their forthcoming Hibiscus tonic.

On the nose, the syrup has a lot of ginger, hibiscus flower and vegetal, peppery notes underneath. Sipping it, you realize that the note of hot pepper and the label “spicy” doesn’t refer to an abundance of spice as much as it serves a note: there’s hot pepper in here.

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Tonic Water

Boylan Heritage Tonic


The Boylan Bottling company has teamed up with W&P design to elevate their line of sodas with the cocktail audience in mind. Boylan Heritage Tonic eschews the distinctive longneck bottles and throwback Boylan look and instead occupies a shorter, fatter bottle (like others, including Q Tonic in this space) and sports a simple, stylized, rustically designed bottle that looks exactly like it should belong in the cooler at your local cocktail joint. In short, they’ve hit the mark. It looks like a high end tonic. But how does it taste?

Tasting Notes

Soda like, with quinine and sweet orange zest on the nose, lemon-lime soda, the palate is clean and crisp, with a pleasant dry lemongrass and lemon-lime soda/7up sort of flavor, that gets drier and more bitter on the finish with quinine and bitter orange notes taking over.

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Tonic Water

Hella Tonic (original)


Founded in Brooklyn, produced in Queens and proudly representing New York City, The Hella Company is small batch, all natural and handcrafted. Originally started as a bitters company, they’ve recently moved into the world of tonic syrups as well. Today we’re reviewing their baseline offering, a combination of citrus peels, real sugar, lemongrass and other undisclosed spices. They offer other tonic syrups, including a Hibiscus variant as well.

Tasting Notes

A surprising herbal note, is present on the nose as well. It’s deep, surprisingly resinous and green.

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Tonic Water

Fever Tree Naturally Light Indian Tonic


Tasting Notes

On the nose, evident effervescence with a distinct touch of lemon/citrus. The palate is greeted with the signature Fever Tree burst of fizz, but when it clears, there’s not much else there. There’s only a tinge of bitterness and maybe a slight citric note. It’s clean, and has a touch of bitterness, but it just doesn’t deliver much on its own. It’s not wildly different from the flavor of their club soda, which while delivering plenty of effervescence, it just lacks in flavor and character.

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Tonic Water

Bradley’s Kina Tonic


Occasionally, it takes me a while to get around to getting a review up. I’ve had this wonderful bottle of tonic syrup chronicled in my notes for some time. I unexpectedly received another bottle very recently which prompted me to look in my notes and realize [to my chagrin] that I have not written about this fantastic syrup here.

The story:

Bradley’s Kina Tonic is small batch, made by hand, and hails from Seattle [Hi Seattle!]. It’s alike many other tonic syrups in terms of appearance and aroma; however, you won’t quite know exactly how it differs until you open it up. That’s right, the “spices” labeled on the back are not listed. They’re a secret. You’ll just have to taste for yourselves.

Tasting Notes

The color is a light cocoa, with this hint of rusty maroon, giving it an almost ciderish appearance. The liquid is thick and somewhat viscous; however, not unctuous I’d place it somewhere in the middle, and perhaps slightly less rich and syrupy than other tonic syrups.

The nose is lemongrass, orange, and nutmeg. It smells a bit rich and earthy, with some background notes that read as somewhat sweet; however, it is the spice and citrus which carries through most strongly.

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Tonic Water

Pinckney Bend Classic Tonic Syrup

Pinckney Bend Tonic Syrup

Here, two emergent trends in tonic collide: first, the trend towards tonic syrups: concentrated, sweet, herbal concoctions designed to be diluted with soda water before drinking. The second trend is that of “companion” tonics: that is tonics made by distillers, crafted in such a way that it perfectly compliments the spirit.

Pinckney Bend has designed a tonic to compliment their Pinckney Bend Gin. They are the only companion tonic syrup on the market right now, but others have pushed this idea forward in the past.

The Recipe

As you know by know, the “recipe” or ratios that are recommended vary from tonic to tonic. Here is Pinckney Bend’s:

1 part Pinckney Bend Gin 1 part Tonic Syrup 4 parts Soda water stir, and garnish with a lime wedge.

Thoughts: most tonic syrup ratios advocate for 2 parts of their gin. This is a case where “companion” should be taken quite seriously to understand. Their gin is a little stronger than most [93 proof] and has a good deal of heat. For companion purposes, I think this ratio works. For other gins, I’d suggest perhaps looking a bit closer to the 3 parts soda, 2 parts gin, 1 part tonic, that most bottles lean towards.

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Tonic Water

Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic

fever tree tonic bottle

Well folks it’s about time.

What you say? 

You’ve heard of this one before?

Unless you’ve been living under a gin and tonic rock, you know about Fever Tree’s quite excellent line of tonic waters, in particular their Mediterranean.

Supposedly, it’s designed to be the cleaner and more refreshing alternative, one that is design for vodka and tonic (what?!). I’ve heard many gin drinkers say that it’s among their favorites, and I’ve heard others describe it as the perfect pair for some of the wild contemporary flavors of Spanish gins in general.

In short, I’ve heard a lot about this tonic water. And now the fact that it’s easy to obtain via [there’s no affiliate link or anything, so don’t be so afraid of clicking] in the states, I’m excited to see if this is worth making a permanent addition to my home bar. My friend shared with me this bottle, so I’m excited to see what to make of this.

Taste of the Mediterranean

Tasting it on its own, one thing strikes you readily: the quinine isn’t so intense in here. It’s subtle. What hits me most strongly is the herbal flavor: lemon thyme, rosemary, and other herbs warmly greet the palate.

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Tonic Water

Haber’s Tonic Syrup

habers tonic bottle

While strolling a local street festival this past summer I stumbled upon Haber’s tonic. Imagine my surprise, walking a festival where the only things I expect to find are cheap socks and $20 1000 threat count sheets, and perhaps more than one stand of burned CDs and no fewer than 3 or 4 folks selling lemonade and grilled corn- I found something new, and oddly enough for me walking at a street festival: something I actually wanted.

Even more exciting for me as a proud resident of Astoria, it is made locally. Naturally, this is perhaps the most exciting street fair find of the year for me. For my wife, her favorite find might have been the free sunglasses from Seamless. But that’s another story.

Haber’s tonic syrup is an amber golden brown, with even a hint of something reddish in there. Visually brighter than other tonic syrups and very opaque.

Flavorwise, it’s quite sweet, a good deal of citrus on the mid-notes, and the finish has a mild amount of quinine and some ginger- maybe even a touch of lemongrass on the finish. It tastes zesty and fresh, very bright.

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Tonic Water

Mixer Tonic Water [Sam’s Choice, a.k.a. WalMart Store Brand]


Another store brand tonic water you say?! Aren’t they all the same?

I wouldn’t be reviewing it if they were. There are some quite good ones, such as Whole Foods. And there are the really bad ones, such as Vintage.

Somewhere in the middle of those two is Mixer. It won’t be mistaken for a craft tonic water. But it gets the job done as many of the main brands like Canada Dry or Polar.

Mixer is a little less bitter than other tonic waters, even its American plastic bottle compatriots. Schweppes is probably twice as strong in terms of quinine. That’s not to say there’s none. There’s a hint of it, just a nice bitterness on the closing to compliment the gin.

It’s rather mild compared to other store tonics. Still sweet. The high fructose corn syrup sweetness is in here. Not a lot of depth in terms of flavor.

Sweet, but less sweet than other similar kinds. Bitter, but much less bitter than other similar ones.

I found Mixer tonic water to be a good tool for getting the job done, and at this price point it definitely works.

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Tonic Water

Review: Canada Dry

canada dry

I walked into my next door bodega, and asked if if they had any tonic water. He said, “We have club soda, it’s the same thing.” I kindly told him that it’s not. He asked me, “What are you making?”

“Gin and Tonic,” I said.

“Yep, the same thing. Club soda and Tonic water are the same thing. Trust me, I’m a bartender.”


I muttered something about how it wasn’t, (“Trust me”) and left. The next day, though, there were six tonic waters in the case just for me.

My bodega stocks Canada Dry, and therefore when the rain comes in, the weather changes, snow on the horizon, its 11:38 pm and I’m out of tonic or I’m lazy, I’m drinking Canada Dry.

Canada Dry is another sweet tonic water. High Fructose Corn Syrup, a pleasing flavor of quinine. It’s much more noticeably sweet than Schweppes. Canada Dry isn’t going to overpower any of your gins, but it’s also not built to compliment any of them. It’s a perfectly acceptable tonic water that has mass appeal.

It’s less carbonated than Q tonic and more in line with your standard sort of carbonated beverage.

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