Strong Tonic

I can’t get enough tonic syrup. This is  by far the best trend to hit gin since gin became cool again.

Straight out of Oklahoma City.

I know, you probably didn’t think of Oklahoma as a hot bed of cocktail incubation. But this is what I love about the craft spirits thing. It’s everywhere. Really. This isn’t just a New York thing. Or a Seattle thing. This thing is going on everywhere. So although Oklahoma doesn’t have a gin yet [do you hear me Oklahomans? I’m anxiously awaiting. Call me!] our nation’s 46th state is contributing to the gin revolution in this country.

Okay, enough with the history you say! How does it taste?

So! How does it Taste?
I’m going to reverse things up a bit here and talk a little about how it mixes first.

Strong Tonic advocates a recipe for G&T as followed:

  • 3 parts soda water
  • 2 parts gin
  • 1 part tonic syrup
  • garnish with citrus

I found this to be an effective and quite good ratio. When mixed with gin, the initial thoughts were a “tad fruity,” “christmas and holiday spices,” “remarkably different than other tonic syrups.”

It makes a good G&T, a tad more sweet than other tonic syrups by volume hence the ratio above. It’s very inviting and very crowd pleasing, even to folks who are not normally gin drinkers. It can mask and cover some of the more subtle notes in gin. So keep in mind, this can definitely elevate a middle of the road gin but it can bury notes in a high end gin. I found it to go quite well with a lot of the craft gins I had on hand. Most notably, I thought the best combination was actually Tanqueray Malacca, because the vanilla really came in at the right moment and complimented the syrup.

But if you’re curious about the real details of what’s in here. I’m going to chat about it neat. I know, not a way that most of you are going to drink this, but I think it’s a good way to give you more particulars about what is happening in here.

Very sweet at first, not quite cloying but very pronounced. The Christmas spice note is closer to a mulled wine note down when just sipping the syrup. Bright cloves shine from beginning to end. A hint of citrusy, orange citrus colors and gives the syrup some depth. But the fruity note that was picked out in the gin and tonic is still here. Not sure if its just the Agave or the Pear Juice from Concentrate [ingredient specified on the label] which is giving it that touch. I can almost taste a touch of pears in heavy syrup here. Power of suggestion? Perhaps. But although there’s some tinges of other notes in the background like cinnamon, and a touch of [but far from overpowering] quinine and bitterness, this syrup really brings a touch of citrus and a bright clove to every cocktail it touches.  The finish has a touch of molasses on it.

Price: $15/375 mL
Best consumed: Gin and Tonic obviously, but it shines brightest with Classic and London Dry style gins. Its a loud tonic, and it can clash and overpower more subtle notes in contemporary gins.
Availability: Online
Rating: Bright and spicy, it goes well with an entire category of gins, and is a crowd pleasing tonic syrup. Although the quinine note is here, it’s complimented by other bold flavors which round it out. A really nice tonic syrup and one of my favorite tonics that I’ve tried this year so far.

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10 thoughts on “Strong Tonic”

  1. Great review. I picked up a bottle just the other day, and really enjoyed it just as directed on the bottle. I also plan on experimenting with it as a mixer in other cocktails.

  2. Hey wondering if you have tried porters tonic syrup? I think it’s made and sold only in Calgary, I also to hink it’s fantastic.

  3. I haven’t had the pleasure yet. There’s a ton of great regional tonic syrups out there that I’m discovering more and more each week. I’ll keep my eyes open for it! Thanks for the recommendation.

  4. It’s either a) only a matter of time or b) a business opportunity that’s just waiting for some gin expert to come along and fill!