I’m not only a big fan of beer, but I also enjoy well-made long drinks, such as Gin & Tonic and Moscow Mule. Having made my own beer for a couple of years now, I thought it would be interesting to try to ‘brew’ up some soda as well (i.e. tonic water and ginger beer). First up is my attempt to make homemade tonic water. The tonic water I made isn’t actually a fermented beverage, rather it’s a flavor syrup, which is to be blended with club soda to make sparkling tonic water. Tonic water is basically a soft drink containing quinine, and was originally used as a prophylactic against malaria. Other flavorings (and gin) have since been added to mask the highly bitter flavour of quinine. Quinine is found naturally in the bark of cinchona trees, and this was one of the ingredients in the homemade tonic water. I found a couple of recipes online (see here and here), which I then adapted to what I could find in the supermarkets here. The recipe is:
- 9 dl of tap water
- 0.5 dl of cut cinchona bark (alternatively in powder form)
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- Juice and zest of 1 lime
- Juice and zest of 1 orange
- 1 cut up lemongrass stalk
- 22 g of citric acid (found a pouch containing 22 g in the store, this could perhaps be increased looking at other recipes)
- 1.5 teaspoon of whole all-spice
- 0.5 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1.5 dl of agave syrup
You basically combine all the ingredients except the agave syrup in a stainless steel pot, bring to boil, and let simmer for 20 minutes. After this, you filter away the particulates through a strainer, followed by a coffee filter (this will take some time). After filtration, the mixture is added back into the stainless steel pot (which has been cleaned up) and it is brought back up to boil. The agave syrup is then added, and the ‘tonic water concentrate’ is then poured into a clean flask/container and stored in the refrigerator (I managed to squeeze out about 8 dl of concentrate). To make a Gin & Tonic, you combine 2-4 cl tonic concentrate (this takes some experimentation) and 6 cl gin in a glass with ice, and then top off with club soda.
The homemade tonic will have a yellow-brownish tint, so it won’t look like a commercial tonic water, but the flavour is awesome!