If I told you that gin and tonic is one of the most popular drinks I’m guessing you wouldn’t be surprised! Gin has been on the rise amongst bartenders and public for last decade. Heads up though, this article is not about gin but the tonic water. Through several of my projects I have realised that young bartenders are now using tonic regularly as a compliment to gin. Is there more to it?

The definition of tonic is: “Tonic is a medicinal substance taken to give a feeling of vigour or well-being.” In another words it is a stimulant, restorative, refresher or cordial to name a few other names.

Tonic is a “bitter – sweet” soda or non alcoholic beverage, that originally consist of quinine and carbonated water with the purpose of medicinal treatment of royal army based across Africa and Southeast Asia especially in across India to cure malaria. As we humans like to experiment, the “medicinal tonic” of that time got diluted with soda and balanced with sweetener to turn down the bitterness and soldiers started to mixed it with gin and the all popular G&T was born.

The popularity of tonic that complements gin has grown so much that there is quite a large number of brands available on the market that pay attention to details such as sugar content, type of sweetener, fiziness and these have become premium mixers.

How about the other tonics? The medicinal restoratives? Can you drink them on a day to day basis without a doctor’s prescription? Well, it really depends on the use but I will put them in 2 main categories. The first one is the traditional medicinine where tonics are blended in front of you based the health issues and these are only made by specialists. This culture is still kept in countries such as India and China. The second selection of tonics are selections and/or combinations of freshly extracted juices from fruits, vegetables and herbs and botanicals.

A great example of this would be Jamu (based on different types of ginger, honey and water), lemongrass tea, yuzu tea and many others that we have all commonly used to treat colds for example.

One of my favorite healthy thirst quenchers is the recipe below:

4 chunks of 1 inch cube sized freshly cut honey pineapple
1 Tablespoon of good quality honey (add more based on your preference)
4 thinly cut slices of fresh ginger
4 – 6 leaves of mint
10 ml still water

  1. Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend properly until it becomes a puree. 
  2. our into a glass over ice  and top it up with sparkling water or soda if you prefer.

Bartender’s note: “Most ingredients that we are using today have played different roles in history.

Posted by:kejml1

2 replies on “Tonic – The compliment to Gin or Medicine

    1. Thank you very much. We are working on more articles and interviews related to different tonics. Have a great weekend ahead.


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