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How To Craft Your Own Tonic Syrup (Recipe + How To)

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Sure you could buy craft tonic water. But know what’s cooler, cheaper, and lasts longer? This unique and elegant tonic syrup recipe (that shines with more premium, finessed gins) 👇

Fever Tree™ said it best: “If ¾ of your drink is the mixer, mix with the best” 

There is definitely the convenience advantage of grabbing a 4 pack of your favorite (I hate this word)…”artisanal” tonic water for quick serve scenarios.

But one immediate downside for G+T lovers heading into the peak of summer is the price $$$ (especially for those who enjoy 1 or 5 during patio season)

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So we paired up with Sipsmith Gin (one of our favourites) to make a tonic syrup recipe to accent its botanicals.

And, of course, matching it in class, while keeping it easy on the wallet 😎

Sidebar: A Bit About Sipsmith Gin

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of tasting the ‘swan-donned’ gin, here’s a quick primer:

Sipsmith Gin is…

– Located in Chiswick, London — blocks away from the Old Fuller’s Brewery

– One of the 3 most celebrated gin distilleries in the capital (the other 2 being the historic titans: Hayman’s and Beefeater).

– The first new copper pot distillery in London in 189 years 🤯

– Features a star ingredient that gives a unique textural layer and slight sweetness: spanish ground almond.

– They’re progressive in style and their marketing is clever and cheeky.

The Truth About Most Tonic Water

Most commercial tonic water is a mixture of citric acid, quinine extract (non alcoholic), sugar, and carbonated water.

No botanicals, no fresh peels, no love 😭

It’s also clear from the processing of the quinine into a clear extract whereas this recipe uses the raw form extracted from cinchona bark through tincturing with alcohol. Craft tonics that are made with love and with real botanicals like our “elegant tonic” tend to have a darker hue (orange to brown), and the depth of flavour…

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This recipe is so easy that 9 year old me could do it, but alas I wouldn’t be able to taste its brilliance

***CAVEAT – This tonic recipe contains alcohol ***

I wish I could extract the essence of quinine with hydrosols or some fancy machinery, but let’s be honest, good ol’ Everclear at 75% ABV will get the job done real quick 💪

Also, if you are making tonic, you’re probably using it with gin…so let’s put on our adult hats on and get down to business.

How To Make Your Own Tonic Syrup

Here’s a video showing you how to make tonic syrup at home:

(BTW, if you want more cocktail how-to videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel)

Tonic Syrup Recipe Ingredients:

  • Water (1.5 L)
  • Sugar (500 mg)
  • 2 x Oranges zested
  • 4 x Lemons zested
  • Juniper (2 tbsp)
  • Coriander (2 tbsp)
  • Ground almond (2 tbsp)
  • Cassia bark (2 tbsp)
  • 2 x Licorice sticks
  • Citric acid (1 tsp)
  • Cinchona tincture (recipe below) (2 oz)

*(Any herbalist or apothecary store should be able to source cinchona bark/cassia/licorice root) 

Cinchona Tincture Instructions:

  1. Place 2 tbsp raw cinchona bark in a 125ml mason jar and fill with Everclear or vodka of choice. Keep in mind if using higher abv like Everclear, it should extract easily overnight whereas with 40% vodka you might be waiting a couple days.
  2. Strain and store away from direct light indefinitely.

Elegant Tonic Syrup Instructions:

  1. On a stove or induction burner, use a large pot or saucepan and add 1.5L water.
  2. Add your botanicals, (cassia or cinnamon, coriander, juniper, licorice root, orange/lemon zests, and ground almond).
  3. Bring mixture to a boil and stir gently for 5 minutes then reduce to a low simmer and gradually stir in 750g white sugar (or raw cane sugar for a healthier alternative).
  4. Let mixture steep on a simmer for 30 minutes before straining.
  5. Add 1 1/2oz (45ml) Cinchona tincture for bittering and fortification and stir to incorporate.
  6. Let the mixture cool for an hour and then transfer to a bottle and keep refrigerated for up to 6 weeks. 

As a bonus, here is an awesome cocktail that uses Sipsmith Gin and our Elegant Tonic Syrup together. It is like plugging a gin and tonic into an amplifier and tastes of pure royalty 👑

Long-Necked Elegance (Cocktail Recipe Using Tonic Syrup)

  • 2oz (60ml) Sipsmith London Dry Gin
  • 3/4oz (25ml) Elegant Tonic Syrup
  • 1/2oz (15ml) Lime Juice
  • 3 Dashes Scrappy’s Orleans (or Peychaud’s Bitters)

GLASS – Large cocktail coupe

METHOD – Shake and double strain neat

GARNISH – Long lime twist 

cocktail featuring homemade tonic syrup

Please enjoy responsibly! 🥂

Want to learn more cool stuff about cocktails? Check out our FREE course.

Nathan Caudle

Nathan Caudle

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