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DIY Tonic Water: Here’s How To Craft Your Own Perfect Mixer

tonic water diy

Tonic water may have had a modest reputation as an anti-malaria medicine. Today, tonic waters are in huge demand as mixers, with some brands producing speciality tonics that cost more than the liquor to choose to mix them with. As with many components of alcoholic beverages, making homemade, customisable tonic water has caught traction among people. 

Why Use Homemade Tonic Water?

Making tonic water at home gives you more control over its flavour. You can decide which ingredients go in it and match it with your favourite gin's flavour profile. You could also try additional aromatics such as lavender or orange peel. You can also experiment with unusual ingredients. Mixing the tonic syrup with sparkling water as needed lets you preserve the tonic syrup for a longer time.

Note

-The tonic syrup needs to be delicious yet subtle, so it enhances and does not overpower the liquor's flavour.
-It needs to be cold extracted as cooked citrus zest tastes well cooked.
-Its flavour profile needs to be barely sweet and pleasantly bitter.

DIY Tonic Water Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 6)

1 Lemon
1 Lime
500 ml Water
2 teaspoons Cut cinchona bark 
1 1/4 teaspoons Citric acid powder (Sour salt)
160 gm Lemongrass stalk, sliced 
360 gms Sugar 
1.5 L Carbonated water

Method

Take a saucepan and add lemon zest and lime zest to it. Now, to the saucepan, add water, cinchona bark, citric acid powder, lemongrass and sugar. Bring the contents to a boil on high heat. Now, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 45 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the contents steep for 20 minutes. Fine strain the mixture to collect the tonic syrup in a glass container with a lid. Refrigerate it for two hours before use.

To make tonic water, mix the syrup with carbonated water, 1 part syrup to 4 parts water. Only combine the entire portions if you intend to use the tonic water all at once. 

tonic water

Mixologist Kevin Liu's Tonic Syrup Recipe 

Ingredients (Makes 500 ml)

40 gm Cut cinchona bark
360 ml Cold water
220 gm Caster sugar
½ tablespoon Citric acid

Method

Take a saucepan, add the bark and the water and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and leave it for 20 minutes. Fine strain the liquid into a jug. Add sugar and citric acid. Stir and keep it aside to cool. Pour the tonic syrup into a sterilised bottle. Mix with carbonated water as and when you need it.

Tips

- Use cut cinchona bark rather than the powder as it is easier to filter and provides a bold flavour

- Citric acid powder is also known as sour salt and is available in physical and online stores

- If you don't want to use sugar, you can use agave nectar, you will need 2/3 parts of agave for 1 part of sugar

- Note that homemade tonic water will not be as clear as store-bought ones

- Homemade tonic can cost more than regular tonic water, but it is still cheaper than speciality brands tonic water.

While it's great to learn about making alcoholic beverages, it is important to consume alcohol moderately. Remember to serve and drink responsibly to ensure you and your guests are healthy and out of harm's way. If you know anyone who has trouble controlling their alcohol intake, please refer them to a professional immediately.