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 Schweppes Tonic 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. Well gin + Schweppes = acceptable.
But beware. Don’t confuse the American version of Schweppes tonic with the less sweet versions available in European markets.
Overall, I rather enjoy Schweppes and find it to be a cost efficient source for my tonic water. It works well with many different gin brands and is a great mixer to have at a party.