House Tonic Water

House Tonic Water

Gin and tonic is one of those classic win-win situations. Pure gin, well you’ll have to be English peerage to drink that stuff without turning a hair. And tonic, well frankly, it’s nice but somehow it’s lacking a bit of a punch. But bring those two components together in the same glass, and you find a wonderful, refreshing synergy. I do at least.

The last couple of years have seen gin become a hip drink, and if you’re part of the in crowd, you not only imbibe one of the rarer gins with special botanicals, but you’ll also use a craft tonic as a mixer. That’s great, nothing could be worse than bleak normalization. But if you really want to stand out, make your own Tonic Water sirup, like this:


  • 25g coarse ground chinchona bark
  • 15g citric acid
  • 20g lemon grass, cut finely
  • 1 orange, zest and juice
  • 0.5 lemon, zest and juice
  • 0.5 lime, zest and juice
  • 400g water(1)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3 allspice berries, coarsely broken in a mortar
  • 10 black peppercorns, coarsely broken
  • 3 juniper berries, coarsely broken
  • 100g water(2)
  • 1.25g agar (~0.25% of the final volume)
  • ca. 300g table sugar (correct after weighing the filtrate)


  1. Mix chinchona bark and citric acid and place in medium sized pot with the lemon grass and the citrus zests.
  2. Add water(1), a pinch of salt and the citrus juices, then add the allspice, black pepper and juniper berries.
  3. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 30 minutes
  4. Pass through a sieve and cool liquid to about 45°C. The infusion should look like turbid black tea.
  5. In the mean time, prepare agar clarification (we’ve written about the details here): Boil water(2) and agar powder in a small pot and let hydrate for 5 minutes.
    Now, stir the agar concentrate into the cooled infusion.

    Note: The infusion must be above 40°C to prevent premature gelation.

  6. Let the infusion cool and gel fully, optionally over an ice bath. Cut the gel into small curds using a whisk and put into a cheesecloth. Let the liquid drain by gravity over night. The resulting liquid should be dark red – golden and very clear.
  7. Weigh the resulting liquid and add 75% by weight table sugar. Bring to a boil to dissolve sugar, then fill into clean bottles. Keeps in the fridge for at least 1 month.

Dilute Tonic Water sirup 1:10 with fresh sparkling water. Combine 2dl of House Tonic Water with 3 ice cubes and 4cl Bombay Sapphire and a lemon zest.

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Serves Base for 34 unique Gin and Tonics
Cooking time:1h