Fentiman’s Light Tonic is their lower calorie variation on their Fentiman’s Tonic. But it’s not just a direct variation. True, it sticks to sugar as the sweetener, but the herbal infusion includes juniper, makrut lime leaves and the botanically brewed part features the former two plus lemongrass as well. Fentiman’s Light tonic is a paltry 23 calories per 200 mL. The regular tonic will run you about 65 calories for the same amount.
Unlike many other diet/light tonic waters, especially stateside, Fentiman’s Light Tonic sweetens with sugar— just less of it.
Poured, it erupts with a generous explosion of effervescence. It retains it nicely, with many bubbles adhering to both the sides and bottom of the glass. The bubbles are about medium sized.
The aroma has a lemon-lime note to it.
The bubbles are pleasant and last from both start to finish on the palate, even dancing at the back of the throat. Slight citrus note at the fore, while the back of the palate has a slight lemongrass note and a sedate bitter quinine note. The quinine is clean and crisp— no hints of metallic notes. It quietly sits on the palate after sipping.
Fentiman’s Light Tonic Water is very pleasant on its own. I don’t get much juniper or specific makrut lime character. I do get a hint of citrus and lemongrass which nicely adds some character, but doesn’t overwhelm.
I fixed it up with some Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin and I have to say I really liked it. Only mildly sweet, juniper, fir and woodruff notes dominated with a slight and very well balanced citrus note at the end. The bitterness is mild— especially compared to other tonic waters such as Q Tonic— but it lasts a long time. I think Fentiman’s Light Tonic shows exceptional balance.
I then tried it with Three Corner Dry Gin and the lovely lemon notes were carried through the bubbles. The palate had a pleasant juniper note and the finish was crisp and somewhat dry.
Fentiman’s Light Tonic can’t be rightly called a diet tonic— after all it still has sugar and still has calories. But if you’re looking to cut down but not totally cut out— or you’re just looking for a pleasant and only slightly sweet tonic water, this tonic water is worth seeking out.
Fentiman’s Light Tonic Water is unfortunately not available stateside. If you live in the UK, it is available on Amazon.