San Pellegrino Old Tonic comes from a brand perhaps best known for their combinations of juice + seltzer. Their Old Tonic is sweetened with glucose–fructose syrup and boasts about 74 calories per 200 mL bottle.
Upon pouring, there’s a moderate eruption of bubbles. Medium sized bubbles adhere to the bottom of the glass.
It begins with a piquant effervescence on the tip of the tongue. It quickly disintegrates, and San Pellegrino Old Tonic begins to showcase it’s more bitter side. There’s a slight hint of citric tang here, but it’s not much.
The bitterness is a bit earthy and sharp. The quinine is vigorous and slightly metallic with a hint of slate. San Pellegrino Old Tonic has plenty of bitterness; however, the character seems a bit less clear and clean than many other tonics on the market. The finish shows a gentle nudge of sweetness to raise the quinine note.
What I do really like is how the tonic holds its bubbles in the glass; the initial burst of fizz is quite pleasant.
I tried S with Cardinal Gin, and I was quite impressed. Moreso, than many other tonics, San Pellegrino’s is designed to work in concert with a gin, rather than on its own. The mint comes through from the gin and feels supported and balanced by the bitterness. This is a really solid gin and tonic.
San Pellegrino Old Tonic is assertive on its own, but it’s a delightful companion to nearly all gins in cocktails. I suggest pairing it with one-note gins that benefit from some aggressive bitterness to balance. Cardinal gin is one, but so is the Italian Malfy Gin.
There’s a lot of things to like about San Pellegrino Old Tonic. Unfortunately for readers in the UK and US one thing not to like is its relative unavailability. While you may be able to find it on Amazon, I find its availability is somewhat unpredictable.
It’s one of the better tonic waters on the market and if you see it you wouldn’t be remiss to buy it; however, there’s plenty of tonic waters I might recommend over this one which are easier to find.