Q Tonic was designed in a kitchen in Brooklyn. Throughout the 2010s, it has gone from gin and tonic geek status to ubiquitous. Widely established as one of the top tonic waters on the market, Q Tonic was a pioneer of the less sweet/more bitter tonic water movement.
At a mere 45 calories per 7.5 oz, Q Tonic is comparatively lower in calories than most tonic waters on the market. Additionally, Q Tonic is sweetened with agave rather than sugar or corn. Other ingredients include: citric acid, quinine and natural flavors.
Poured, Q Tonic erupts with a preponderance of medium/small sized bubbles. Slight quinine bark sweetness with a touch of citrus on the nose.
There’s a lot of bubbles, especially early. Q Tonic’s fizz is the immediately noticeable feature upon its entry to your palate. The fizz continues, bubbling gently all the way to the back. It’s in the middle of the tongue that an astringent, clean bitterness begins.
This is perhaps Q Tonic’s most defining feature. The quinine is really as bitter as tonic waters get. Clean and crisp, it brings with an exceptionally long bitter finish. If you like quinine and you think that most tonic waters aren’t bitter enough, Q Spectacular Tonic Water is exactly the tonic you’ve been looking for.
Behind the bitterness is a gentle sweetness. It’s just enough to add some stickiness the quinine note.
I end with the comment on sweetness, because I think the agave is most pronounced with gin. Elegant fizz seems to lift the gin’s aroma, while the sweeter character pleasantly complements whatever gin you’re pairing Q Tonic with. You are going to definitely get some sweetness though. As some in the comment below have mentioned, while the bitterness is more pronounced than with other tonics, so is the agave note. I find it quite pleasant. As the finish is quite long, even for a tonic water, I think it pairs best with gins that have a long finish on their own.
Overall, this tonic is one of my favorite tonic waters available today. It was when I first tried it back in 2010, and it still is today. People who like bitterness in their tonic with a moderated sweetness will enjoy Q.