What else goes with Tonic?

By on October 17th, 2022 in Blog
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Tonic Water will always be synonymous with Gin and Tonic but it’s far more versatile than that. Quinine, which gives the tonic its distinctive bitter taste, was brought to Europe by Spanish conquistadors returning from South America. Later, colonialism continued to help spread Tonic Water far and wide, this time thanks to the British. In the mid-1900s troops serving in India were recommended large doses of quinine to stave off malaria. To mask its incredibly bitter flavour it was mixed with sugar and soda to form a ‘quinine tonic water’. Because British soldiers were issued with Gin rations (much like the Rum rations in the Navy) it’s not hard to see how the G&T was created. Today ‘Indian Tonic Water’ has many variations. Its bittersweet flavour works beautifully with a host of spirits, creating a variety of delicious, thirst-quenching drinks. Below are four gorgeous gin alternatives with four top Tonics.

gin and tonic what else goes with tonic blog

Black Cow Strawberry Vodka 

Vodka and Tonic may well be an old favourite, but here we put a distinctly hometipple twist on this classic combo. These days you can barely find a gastropub menu in the land that doesn’t have a desert featuring strawberries with pepper. It’s a dish that’s here to stay. So why not apply that same ‘rule-breaking’ combination to a drink? The heat from the freshly ground pepper seems to enhance the sweetness of the strawberry which makes it a surefire winner. Black Cow Strawberry Vodka and Merchant’s Heart Pink Peppercorn Tonic Water is therefore a perfect pairing. As we’ve discussed before, Black Cow make what we believe is the best-flavoured vodka available. Its seductive flavours of ripe strawberries and vanilla ice cream work so well with the slightly sweet pepperiness and citrus notes of Merchant’s Heart Pink Peppercorn Tonic. It is a match made in heaven.

black cow strawberry vodka and tonic for blog

Avallen Calvados 

We continue the pudding-inspired pairing theme with Calvados. The famous French apple brandy rarely features as a mixed drink which is a real shame. Good Calvados is smooth, and rich and has a distinctive apple character. This makes it ideal for pairing with a host of flavours found in apple-based desserts. Avallen Calvados is almost made for this. It’s not overly heavy and dark and retains a slightly sweet apple character that makes it perfect for mixing. Here we recommend Double Dutch Cranberry and Ginger Tonic Water as an ideal partner. Avallen’s flavours of yellow apple and pear, clove, cinnamon and a little lemon compliment the heat and spice of the ginger and sharp but sweet cranberry flavours of the Double Dutch Tonic a treat. And for added ‘fanciness’ why not grab a bag of dehydrated apples and pop a couple of discs in the drink as a garnish?

avallen calvados and tonic

Domus Grappa Ruché 

Now a bit of an oddball. Grappa is rarely afforded too much love, here in the UK. Mainly because most of us never get to try the good stuff. It’s mostly plonked on the table after a meal at an Italian restaurant as a way of enticing the dinner guests to stay a little longer. And because it’s often free, the chances of it being a good example are slim. Domus Grappa was created by Massimiliano Favaretto, a highly respected Italian-born London bartender. His sole aim with Domus is to bring his joy and enthusiasm for Grappa to the inhabitants of these isles. We think he’s nailed it. It has flavours of marzipan, raw almonds, mango leaf, vanilla, golden pear and rhubarb and custard sweets. And it goes brilliantly with Merchant’s Heart Hibiscus Tonic Water adding a unique bittersweet element to an already first-rate spirit that’s incredibly moreish.

Pampelle Aperitif

Last on our ‘& Tonic’ list is an Aperitif (or Aperitivo if you’re of a more Italian disposition). Made from Ruby Grapefruits grown in Corsica, Pampelle is not too dissimilar to Aperol. Key differences are a much more distinct grapefruit flavour, a better bitter-sweet balance and much lower sugar. Like all Aperitif/ Aperitivos, it uses Quinine from Cinchona Tree bark to achieve its bitter taste, with grapefruit and a host of other citrus peels for its sweet element. When mixed with tonic, it all marries together beautifully for a super-refreshing long drink we can’t get enough of. We recommend Double Dutch Indian Tonic Water as the ideal companion. It maintains and enhances the inherent bitter-sweet balance of the Pampelle perfectly. Refreshing and tangy, this makes an ideal pre-dinner drink to get the appetite going.