Food and Drink

Other Ways to Use Tonic

A little while ago I did a post on gin and tonic being a very popular highball. I have one other cocktail in my repertoire that uses tonic, and so I got to wondering if people use tonic for anything other than G&Ts these days. It seems like a waste of a good mixer to not branch out. Of course, you can also simply mix another spirit, like vodka or whiskey, with tonic water as well, but that’s not what I mean. The most common thing I found was a plethora of variations on a classic G&T. These often changed things up by adding another ingredient, like a liqueur or some bitters. Definitely fun to play with, and I tried out a few different things. Tonic maker websites are also pretty good for providing a good selection of recipes.

I also found a national drink that uses tonic, the Beton, which is the national drink of the Czech Republic. It is simply a Becherovka and Tonic (get it, Be + Ton?), with Becherovka being a really nice Czech liqueur, which is described as an herbal bitter, but it is more sweet than bitter, and has a nice spicy, clove flavor to it. I happen to have this in my bar, so I gave it whirl. I like Becherovka, so I liked this tonic as well. I find that generally something about mixing most anything with tonic brings out the flavors really nicely, so if you like the spirit or liqueur in its straight form, you’ll probably like it with tonic as well.

In addition to just adding tonic to xyz ingredient, there are also a few mixed drinks that are more complex. Here are a few I liked.

  • Silver Lining: This is the tonic cocktail that I’ve had in my recipe list for a while, and I love it, as it blends together a lot of ingredients I like, with Genever, Aperol, Elderflower Liqueur, and Lemon Juice.
  • Reversed Vesper and Tonic: A really interesting drink that takes the classic Vesper to a totally different place with Gin, Vodka, Lillet, Becherovka, and Grenadine.
  • Bitter Poetry: The Q Tonic site has a lot of recipes—more than most of the other tonic sites I looked at. I quite liked this one with Gin, Orange juice, Honey, Ginger, and Orange Bitters. The fresh ginger gives it a really nice kick.

At the end of the day, you can also just drink tonic water without any spirit at all. I actually do this for lunch every so often. It’s a really refreshing drink in its own right. What creative ways do you use tonic water?