While strolling a local street festival this past summer I stumbled upon Haber’s tonic. Imagine my surprise, walking a festival where the only things I expect to find are cheap socks and $20 1000 thread count sheets, and perhaps more than one stand of burned CD’s and no fewer than 3 or 4 folks selling lemonade and grilled corn- I found something new, and oddly enough for me walking at a street festival: something I actually wanted.
Even more exciting for me as a proud resident of Astoria, it is made locally. Naturally, this is perhaps the most exciting street fair find of the year for me. For my wife, her favorite find might have been the free sunglasses from Seamless. But that’s another story.
Haber’s tonic syrup is an amber golden brown, with even a hint of something reddish in there. Visually brighter than other tonic syrups and very opaque.
Flavorwise, it’s quite sweet, a good deal of citrus on the mid-notes, and the finish has a mild amount of quinine and some ginger- maybe even a touch of lemongrass on the finish. It tastes zesty and fresh, very bright. The initial sweetness is concentrated up front, by the time you get the citrus and the spiced notes on the tail, it is much more balanced.
Among most tonic syrups, this one seems most close to the Jeffrey Morganthaler recipe that has made its round, and that even I attempted to make happen. But this feels much more balanced and better than the version I came out with.
The official recipe as per the label is about a 3:2:1 ratio of soda water, gin and tonic syrup. I think this works quite nicely. My favorite gins to mix with this syrup were juniper forward, classic styled gins. I think the bold juniper notes really had shone with this syrup. Definitely though Plymouth was a stand out with this syrup, though Broker’s and Strait Gin were also quite good.
Price: $10/250mL (but shipping starts at $7 for the first bottle)
Best consumed: Mix with a strong juniper forward gin in a 2:1 gin to syrup ratio, top with soda to your liking.
Availability: On the web, but available in cocktails at Sweet Afton in Astoria and other places around New York City.
Rating: Zesty and bright, with a lot of notes to add flavor to your G&T, as well as enough bitterness to make a good gin and tonic. Recommended.