Homemade Tonic Water
Makes about 1 liter of Tonic Concentrate
This tonic makes a fabulous cocktail mixed with gin or vodka. It’s also wonderful mixed with sparkling water as a non-alcoholic aperitif. The cinchona bark and genetian root infuse a traditional bitterness, balanced nicely by the citrus, lavender, and cardamom.
- 3 cups water
- ¼ cup chopped cinchona bark*
- ¼ cup citric acid
- Zest of 3 limes peeled zests only
- Zest 3 lemons peeled zests only
- Zest 3 oranges peeled zests only
- 2 stalks lemongrass tops and bottoms trimmed, washed thoroughly and outer leaves removed and sliced into 1/4″ rounds**
- 4 whole allspice berries
4 whole juniper berries
- 4 whole green cardamom pods
- 1 tablespoon lavender
1 tablespoon gentian root***
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Simple Syrup
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Combine all ingredients except simple syrup in a sterilized, one-quart lidded glass jar. (I like to use Euro-style canning jars; they are functional and beautiful and you never have to search for the lid!) Shake to combine. Refrigerate 72 hours, shaking occasionally, at least once per day.
- Make syrup: dissolve 3 cups sugar in 1 1/2 cups water over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Allow to cool. Transfer to a container and refrigerate.
- After 72 hours of steeping, strain tonic mixture, using a mesh sieve, into a large glass pitcher. Strain tonic a second time, using a coffee filter or very fine cheesecloth.
- Stir simple syrup into tonic until thoroughly combined.
- Pour tonic into glass bottles and store in the refrigerator.
For a fabulous Gin & Tonic Cocktail
Fill a glass with ice. Add 1 tablespoon (or more to taste) tonic syrup, 2 ounces gin, and 2 ounces sparkling water. Stir to combine. Serve with a squeeze of lime and a smile.
*Cinchona can be found online at Herbal Advantage. Buy the chopped bark, the powder is too fine and the larger pieces of bark are a pain to break down into smaller pieces.
**Fresh lemon grass stalks can be found at Asian markets and gourmet grocery stores.
***Gentian root is available online through Starwest Botanicals.