Top 10: The Ten Best Tonics for your next Gin and Tonic!

Gin & Tonic. Period.

The two simply belong together. What we mean by “tonic’ has evolved over the past few years. Once “tonic” referred to strictly carbonated, sweetened, slightly bitter quinine sodas; however since 2013 we’ve seen the emergence of tonic syrups, which are flavored with cinchona bark (and thusly quinine) and are designed to be included with soda water to make a gin and tonic.

Based on our years of tonic testing, we believe these are the best tonics to complement your favorite gin. If you don’t see your favorite, check out our entire tonic review archive and read more about what we think. But without further ado, here are our ten best tonics for 2017.

Cheers, and happy Gin & Tonic-ing.

Ten Best Tonics 2017

1

Fever Tree Tonic Water

 best tonic water 2017
fever-tree-tonic-water

Our Top Tonic 2017!

Fever Tree’s main tonic, fully sweetened, we think is simply the best tonic out there.

Designed to be an upgrade from your standard supermarket tonic water, Fever Tree’s classic tonic water has a gentle sweetness, a clean, crisp dash of quinine and bitterness, and small, tight carbonation bubbles. The balanced flavor of the tonic lets the flavor of your gin come through and the clean, slightly bitter finish whets the palate just enough. Overall, it’s my favorite and my-go-to tonic water. I can’t recommend it strongly enough.

Buy from Amazon. 

2 Q Tonic
 
 
q tonicAnother excellent option that’s a clear upgrade from your usual supermarket tonic, Q Tonic doesn’t simply upgrade. Q Tonic has it’s own perspective.

It’s drier and more bitter than alternatives on the market. For those looking for a refreshing bit of bitterness without any of the cloying sweetness, Q Tonic may be the tonic for you.

The clean flavor lets your gin shine through, and remains the reason why it’s still so highly rated in the time since its release. Highly recommended, especially a a counterpoint to bold contemporary style gins.

Buy from Amazon.

3 Schweppes Indian Tonic
Schweppes Slimline Indian TonicVastly better than the Schweppes supermarket tonic widely available stateside, Schweppes overseas offering is less sweet with a gentle bitterness.It gets an added bonus for being just the right size for a Gin & Tonic, meaning that you never have a moment where its going flat in the fridge waiting for tomorrow’s G&T.

I like the nice balance between the sweetness and the quinine effect. Of those in the top three, Schweppes overseas offering is closer to Fever Tree than Q Tonic, but just alike those two, it’s my top recommendation for EU supermarket shoppers.

Buy from Amazon 

4 Boylan Heritage Tonic Water
Boylan Heritage Tonic

What I think sets Boylan Heritage Tonic apart from many others in the “added citrus” category is that it’s gentle and not overpowering. It’s just enough that if you like the citrus addition of a lemon or lime in your G&T, you can get that without having to cut a citrus fruit.

The bubbles are tight, the sweetness is mild, and the clean dry citrus flavor is reminiscent of bitter orange and a hint of lemongrass. It’s no botanical bomb, that’s for sure. Just right if citrus is a must-have in your G’s and T’s.

Buy from Boylan Heritage

5 Fever Tree Naturally Light Tonic Water
 best light tonic 2017
Fever Tree Light Tonic Water

Our Favorite “Light” Tonic 2017

Without a doubt in my mind, the award for best “Light” tonic water has to be Fever Tree. Although options above (including Q) are surprisingly light in calories, if you’re looking for a specifically light option— this is my favorite.

Clean with a still surprising amount of sweetness (because it’s sweetened, and not a true diet), it still delivers a pleasant clean bit and just enough sweetness to bring the calorie count down.

Of course, like other Fever Tree Tonics, it has the tight bubbles that the line is known for.

Buy from Amazon

6 Bradley’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Kina Tonic
best tonic syrup 2017 

Our Favorite Flavored Tonic Syrup 2017

Fans of tonic syrup, who would have thought that the best way to improve upon a syrup made from wood, would be more wood?Bradley’s Kina Tonic was aged in barrels used at one point to house the quite excellent Bourbon Barrel Aged Big Gin. Aged for a minimum of four months, its really mellowed the sweetness and deepened the cinchona bark flavors.

If that doesn’t convince you, how about this quote from the review: “Incredibly well balanced, with plenty of citrus, spice, and bitterness to make the perfect gin and tonic. One of our favorites, and an excellent pairing for nearly all gins, but especially classic styles with a heavy juniper head.”

Buy from Bradley’s Tonic Co. (via Amazon)

 7 365 Everyday a.k.a. Whole Food Store Brand Tonic Water
best buy tonic 2017
365 tonic water

Our Best Value Tonic Water 2017

If your supermarket is anything like mine, it’s getting better, but it’s still sometimes hard to find my preferred tonic waters. In a pinch, it’s good to know that there’s some supermarket tonic waters out there that not only deliver, but are actually quite good.

Whole Foods’ store brand of 365 Everyday tonic water is surprisingly clean, refreshing, and has a hint of citrus. As an added bonus, it’s sweetened without High Fructose Corn Syrup, which means it has a better texture than other options within this space.

I know there’s some people for whom nothing short of the best will do. But for the rest of us, 365 Everyday is an ideal tonic for packing the cooler for a G&T day at the beach.

Buy at Whole Foods Markets

8 Fentimans Tonic Water
 
 fentimansFentiman’s is a peculiar tonic that is likely to split Gin and Tonic drinkers into two camps. One is for those who prefer a crisp, clean tonic that lets the gin shine and the gin shine alone. And then there’s the other camp who doesn’t mind a tonic water with a bold botanical profile all of its own.

Make no mistake, Fentiman’s Tonic Water is loud. The sweetness is pronounces and there’s a good deal of lemongrass complementing the bitterness from the quinine. You can drink it easily on its own as a lemongrass and quinine soda, or you can pair it with an assertive juniper-forward gin for a delightfully, unique G&T.   

Buy from Amazon

9 Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic
best flavored tonic 2017
elderflower tonicOur Favorite Flavored Tonic 2017

My favorite truly flavored tonic has to be the Elderflower variation from Fever Tree. The elderflower note is bright and fully developed, and its a much less sweet alternative to just pouring an Elderflower cordial into your Gin and Tonic (although that is quite good too).

It’s not just simply that this is a Fever Tree victory lap here, but it’s that of all the flavored tonics out there, this one walks the line and manages to balance the added flavor. Sure, the Elderflower is always front and center, but I think that it’s so nicely balanced with a bite of quinine on the finish.

Buy from Amazon

10  Indi & Co Botanical Tonic Water
Spain’s Gin Tonica culture is perhaps the world’s hot bed of innovation in the world of Gin & Tonic. Indi & Co.’s Botanical tonic water is unusual in that it’s distilled in a bain-marie. This means that the flavors are composed of essential oils in this tonic water similar to how essential oils contribute flavors to gin.

On its own, you get an unusual and wonderful gentle spice; mixed with gin you get pleasant lemon/lime notes with only a hint of sweetness and only a hint of bitterness. Unusual, but for fans of interesting botanical tonic waters, it’s worth seeking out.

Buy from the Drink Shop

Last updated March 28th, 2017 by Aaron

30 thoughts on “Top 10: The Ten Best Tonics for your next Gin and Tonic!

  • January 2, 2013by Rocco

    have you ever tryed Thomas henry tw? i’d like to know your opinion about… best regards!

  • January 2, 2013by AaronPost author

    Rocco, I haven’t yet. I’ve been working on finding a US source for some of the European tonic waters. So hopefully very soon.

  • August 9, 2013by Jenn Wong (@wayofthewong)

    The Thrasher’s is great! Love that one.

  • August 21, 2013by JC Maroto

    What about 1724 Tonic Water with quinine coming from the Inca Trail (Perú)

  • August 21, 2013by AaronPost author

    I’d love to try it. Once I get my hands on it, I’ll let you know.

  • November 14, 2013by George

    You must have try Quina Fina Tonic Water, the best of all, 100%recomended for people who loves tonic

  • February 27, 2014by mauro

    were can you buy quina fina or 1724 in europa?

  • June 4, 2014by Anton

    is there a still tonic water you can buy in the ik. ??

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  • July 15, 2014by Erik

    Aaron, how come regular Schweppes tonic is not on here just above Canada Dry? I ask because in your Canada Dry review you say you ever so slightly prefer Schweppes.

  • October 9, 2014by Steve

    Aaron, Mainland Europe are spoilt rotten for great tonic water, I personally dislike the Schweppes that you reviewed but Spain has a premium version with pink peppercorn which is amazing. Also Indi, Me tonic, Peter Spanton, Thomas Henry, 1724 and my personal favourite Markham. Unfortunately I live in the UK and it’s a bitch to get hold of any of these!

  • November 11, 2014by Danny

    If you want to taste the pure bitterness of true tonic syrup, try five by five tonics. I’ll hear from you soon.

    Danny

    fivebyfivetonics.com

  • November 13, 2014by AaronPost author

    I’d love to try. Let me know. aaron@theginisin.com

  • November 24, 2014by Darrell

    I’ve just been to lanzarote and they served up Larios Gin & Nordic mist tonic what a pleasant surprise and even better it turns a really cool electric blue in UV light

  • May 25, 2015by Guillermo Vidal

    I suggest a tonic water with excellent gourmet exotic natural ingredients with Mexican nature, created and bottled in Mexico QuinaVa name. Source sweetened with agave nectar and avocado seed extract, grapefruit seed, lemongrass, cucumber, lemon peel and other essences of Mayan origin. One of a kind, unique flavor and organic, created by artisans. It’s a great option.

  • June 24, 2015by AaronPost author

    I’d love to try it- I haven’t seen it yet. If you’re interested in submitting a sample for review: aaron@theginisin.com

  • October 14, 2015by Sean Voysey

    Curious on thoughts on Jack Rudy. I was disappointed– too sweet and not enough bite. Fever tree is far and way the best so far.

  • October 15, 2015by AaronPost author

    Honestly, so were we. Jack Rudy’s Review

    I’ve had it again recently, and I still agree. It’s just not up to par with a lot of the other options out there. I’m with you 100% on the bite.

  • October 21, 2015by Charles

    I really like Fever Tree Naturally Light. It has less sugar, and is less sweet, than the original Fever Tree. It emphasizes the bite more, which I prefer.

  • October 28, 2015by Holly

    Echoing Darrell’s thoughts here – just returned from Tenerife and was very impressed with Nordic Mist Tonic Water – on it’s own or as a G & T. Excellent bite, not sweet, crisp and refreshing. Now where to find it in the UK. The cool electric blue is the quinine which should be in every tonic water – it fluoresces in UV light.

  • December 18, 2015by Mick whelton

    Schweeps has no bubbles ?
    Enough to make you cr ?

  • January 17, 2016by Selma Coty

    I know I have mixed Schweppes Tonic Water in the past with my Sapphire Gin; but the last 6-pack I bought was awful. In fact, I bought 3-6 packs and returned 2 of them. Today, I have read the review and decided to order the sample pack for Amazon. I look forward tasting the Fever Tree Tonic with my favorite summer-time drink, a G&T.

  • January 22, 2016by Michael Whelton

    Couldn’t agree more.
    Schweppes tonic has lost its bubbles.
    I emailed to complain Xmas 2014 and am still waiting for an answer.

  • March 3, 2016by mel

    i tried green bottle pink tonic water with pomegranate it was a nice change.but i cannot get it anywhere now it seems to have gone out of circulation , (pity).

  • April 4, 2016by Jerry Fitchett

    Nordic Mist blue tonic water now available in Northants. 200ml bottles in stock!

  • May 27, 2016by Sue

    Whatever happened to Schweppes Bitter Lemon? I love it with gin but have had to switch to tonic. Can’t find a good bitter lemon. Is there a tonic that might give a similar flavor?

  • June 3, 2016by Zachary Chan

    Hey have you tried Ledger’s Tonic? Had them a little while ago and I think they are pretty nice. Want to know your thoughts

  • March 28, 2017by Ben

    You need to try the tonic range from East Imperial. Made in NZ from a Singaporean family recipe. Their Burma tonic is by far my favourite, especially when paired with International award winning gins from NZ like Black Robin Gin.

  • July 4, 2017by Robert Sowa

    I tend to agree with most of the picks on your list, although I haven’t seen that Shweppes version here in the states. I disagree about the Whole Foods365 tonic water, it’s much too sweet, but I love the price. My long time favorite Fever Tree, has recently been upstaged by Llanllyr SOURCE. Very, very similar flavor profile, same size bottles, also sold as a 4pack, but at a better price.

  • July 4, 2017by Anonymous

    Odd that you don’t list the Fever Tree Mediterranean, which you gave 5 stars to.

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