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If you’ve always wondered why tonic water is so bitter, you’ve come to the right place. We are here to talk about how to make tonic water taste better. These ideas will help you understand the role of tonic water in your drinks and cocktails, as well as ways to alleviate the bitterness associated with this classic mixture.
What is Tonic Water
Tonic water is a drink made with carbonated water and flavored with quinine for its unique bitter flavor. This drink originated as an attempt to treat Malaria but has stayed around in a more mild version as a mix-in for alcoholic drinks.
Quinine is made from cinchona bark. Some of the recipes we found called for steeping this bark yourself to extract the quinine as the drink is brewed. You can also buy pre-made “tonic syrup,” which includes quinine and forms a base for the simple drink without the need to obtain your own bark and brew it. Either way, you want a moderate amount of quinine mixed with carbonated water and however much sweetener you prefer. Some prefer unsweetened or artificially sweetened tonic water, and that certainly works. For those who want to take the bitter edge off the drink and don’t mind added calories, regular sweeteners work perfectly.
What to Put in Tonic Water
You can add so many different things to tonic water to make it more refreshing and less bitter. Fruit juice is a go-to option. Try adding pineapple juice or orange juice. It is very common to add straight lime juice or add lime juice and some fresh fruit. Consider adding juiced and sweetened strawberries or mixed berries.
How to Sweeten Tonic Water
No matter how you mix your tonic water, you are going to want to add a sweetener. Try an all-natural sweetener like cane sugar or agave syrup. Corn syrup is also common. If you are using a “tonic syrup” to mix your tonic water, it may already contain the sweetener, so read the instructions on the package.
What to Mix with Tonic Water
The most common mixed drink that contains tonic water is a gin and tonic. Besides alcohol in various forms, you can also mix non-alcoholic drinks using tonic water. Make a fresh, clean palate cleanser using tonic water flavored with lime. Or use any of the recipes we’ve mentioned below to make a refreshing drink.
Making Tonic Water
Making tonic water requires three ingredients. Carbonated water, tonic syrup, and a sweetener. Shaken together, these ingredients make very basic tonic water you can use to make mixed alcoholic drinks. You can also add herbs, fruit juice, or flavored extracts to dress up this drink without alcohol.
Alcoholic Drinks with Tonic Water
As previously mentioned, a gin and tonic is the most common alcoholic drink made from tonic water. It is equal parts gin and tonic water. This ingredient can be used in a variety of mixed drinks and cocktails beside the iconic classic. You can make a vodka tonic, a whiskey tonic, a portonic, a Pomme Petillant, a juniper and tonic, or a rum and tonic, just to name a few.
How to Make Tonic Water in a Soda Stream
You can use your soda stream to add carbonation to your tonic water. All you need to do is make carbonated water with the tonic syrup and your sweetener of choice. You can buy two types of tonic syrup directly from Soda Stream. One has regular sweeteners, and the other has zero calories. You may or may not need to add extra sweetener to your liking. This makes a great base for your non-alcoholic drinks or cocktails. Homemade tonic water is easy to make with a soda stream! Here are simple directions for making tonic water using a soda stream.
Tonic Water Recipes We Love
- Try this homemade tonic water by David Lebovitz
- For a more savory tonic water, try this recipe from Evoke DC
- This is an excellent rendition of Indian Tonic Water from Top Note Tonic
- If you need MockTails, try these ideas from The Zero Proof
- Here is a fantastic and thorough list of flavored alcoholic drink recipes using tonic water from Yummly.