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. Its distinct lack of sweetness means that your gin’s flavors will shine through. I do find that the bitter finish overpowers any lingering notes from the gin. G’vine’sFloraison for example, with Q tonic, you miss the lingering sweetness and faint notes of grape that hang around long after you’ve sipped your drink. Q tonic leaves you with a refreshing cleanse of palette and ready for the next sip.
I love the lack of sweetness in the tonic though. It really allows you to taste the gin more fully. Whereas the end notes are overpowered, the taste of the gin shines on the initial sip. You can really appreciate the subtleties of the summer elements in a gin like Beefeater summer, or pick out the vegetable and rose flavors in Hendrick’s.
Q tonic is pleasantly bubbly too. It has more carbonation than your plastic bottle tonic, and its effervescence makes it almost drinkable on its own.
Price: $11.99 for a pack of 4 on Amazon, though you can probably find it in a local gourmet supermarket for something closer to $7.99
Best consumed: With a high quality gin.
Availability: most gourmet stores and Amazon.com
Rating: Refreshing, but not perfect. Highly recommended.