If you compared Q Tonic to the other big names in tonic water, you might have noticed one thing. They were the only one to not have a light/low-calorie option. That seemed forgivable, after all Q Tonic was a mere 40ish calories per serving as it was. Not to be outdone, Q Drinks have launched Q Tonic Light Tonic Water, which lowers it down to a mere 20 calories per 7.5 fl. oz. can.
Q Tonic Light uses real sugar in addition to the sugar alcohol Erythritol. It is a zero calorie sweetener that is supposed to be better tolerated than other sugar alcohols like xylitol and sorbitol. In other words— this is good news for people who struggle with other common no-calorie sweeteners.
In terms of Q Tonic Light and its flavor profile, what I like is that it hasn’t forgone sugar altogether. I find that the combination of zero calorie sweetener + sugar tastes more like regular sugar than the zero calorie sweetener alone.
Q Tonic Light Tonic Water has a clean nose with a delicate hint of lime and citrus. Similar to their regular tonic water, there’s a characteristic tight and plentiful effervescence present when poured.
Sipped it has a pronounced bitterness, especially early on the palate. There is an astringency and dryness on the palate, not that uncommon with sugar alcohols. The citric acid provides a very mild citrus bite, but on its own— it’s pleasantly strong with the bitterness but with an astringent finish.
Q Light Tonic and Km 12 Gin
The spruce bud and pine blossom sweetness from the Km. 12 Gin comes in at just the right point. While the bitterness of the Q Light Tonic is present, some of the off notes from the Erythritol aren’t. Further, the bit of heat and astringency from the gin masks the things that were not as great when sipped on its own.
I find that a higher gin and tonic ratio (say 1:2) helps a lot as well. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a rather good gin and tonic.
Q Light Tonic and Gin Farallon
After being pleasantly surprised by the way gin improved the flavor of Q Light Tonic, I tried it with another gin— just to see if it was the gin. After mixing with Gin Farallon, I’m convinced. This is a tonic water I wouldn’t drink on its own, but it works really well when mixed.
Again, in a 1:2 ratio, Gin Farallon’s cardamom brightness is complemented by an assertive quinine note early on. Towards the finish, notes of cucumber, green lavender and juniper endure— the astringency from the Erythritol is still there, but it’s blended in with the astringency and dryness of the gin.
Overall, Q Light Tonic
To acknowledge my bias outright, I strongly prefer sugar and other calorie-filled sweeteners in my tonic water.
However, to step outside of that— Q Light Tonic is hands down one of the best very low calorie tonic waters I’ve had. Those who need to avoid sugar entirely, can’t partake because Q Light Tonic is not a zero calorie tonic. However, those looking to avoid calories from the tonic in their G&T may want to give Q Drink’s light offering a closer look.
It has all of their signature bitterness with half the calories. In other words, mission accomplished.
Recommended in its category.