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:

Ingredients

  • 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)

Preparation:

  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.

Serving:
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