Jeffrey’s Lime Galangal and Orange Tonic Syrup is one of four in their lineup of tonic syrups, all of which have the surprising addition of sea salt to the recipe. As for the Lime, Galangal and Orange— we often see orange in other tonic syrups. And Lime is a classic part of the G&T formula. However, Galangal is somewhat unusual. It’s botanically very similar to ginger, but a bit less peppery and spicy— and a bit more camphoraceous and sharp. Galangal is quite common especially in traditional Thai cooking. Many mainstream cookbooks just replace the galangal in traditional recipes with ginger, because of its accessibility and ease of purchase. However, if you haven’t tried it— the next time you make Tom Yum soup (or the like)— you’ll see why Galangal is preferred by the cultures that wrote the recipes. [For more on the difference]
Thai cooking tangent aside….
Jeffrey’s Lime, Galangal and Orange Tonic Syrup is powerfully citrus-forward on the nose. Lots of sweet orange and key lime. Sipped on its own, there’s a nice mellowness to the syrup, especially at first. Vibrant candied citrus mid-palate. The bitterness of the quinine is very muted. A bit of woody cinchona flavor lingers on the finish.
With a bit of soda, the galangal starts to jump out a bit. While the citrus is still the star, it does find a bit more balance with the other notes. Still the bitterness in the finish is very subtle, to almost not there.
I made up a Gin and Tonic with Peach Street’s Jackelope Gin. Jeffrey’s Lime, Galangal and Orange Tonic Syrup adds a pleasant sweetness. For me the lime comes through early, while the finish is quick and dry, but with little character coming from the syrup. Dialing up the ratio will bring more citrus character to the G&T, and begin highlighting that ginger-like note that the galangal was adding, but was hidden somewhat in some of the early citrus.
Overall, Jeffrey’s Lime, Galangal and Orange Tonic Syrup makes a nice gin and tonic with the flavors promised. I’d suggest looking for a gin that doesn’t feature those notes too prominently in order to get the most from the syrup. Pair it with a bold juniper forward or anise forward gin.