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Homemade Tonic Water

Mass-produced tonic water typically contains the devil--by devil I mean high-fructose corn syrup, and artisanal tonic waters like Qtonic and Fever Tree cost ~$3.00 for a 4oz. bottle.  I am already hooked on Hendricks gin--delightful but pricey, and had taken to drinking it with sparkling water and  lime but missed the bitter note of tonic.  I stumbled upon Jeffrey Morgenthaler's recipe by chance and decided to give it a go.  The recipe calls for chinchona bark powder which I was able to source at Tenzing Momo.  They also have a wonderful selection of herbs and spices and I received my order in <5 days.

 The recipe calls for a variety of citrus, allspice, chinchona bark powder and citric acid.  Crap! Citric acid?  I didn't read the recipe thoroughly.  All was not lost because I remembered I had this....

First ingredient?  Citric acid.  Booyah!  It also contains dehydrated lime juice and lime oil so I omitted the fresh lime.  The ingredients are simmered in 4 cups of water for 20 minutes.  You end up with this:

 Looks like mud.  Tastes super bitter.  I was a little concerned at this point.  After straining initially through a strainer and then a coffee press the resultant liquid was still opaque but free of large pieces of zest and bark.  At this point you add agave nectar at a ratio of 3/4 cup agave nectar for each cup of the mixture.  After straining I had about two cups mixture and not quite 1.5 cups of agave nectar so I added a cup of cane sugar and simmered til dissolved.  This mixture was still fairly bitter---did I need a spoonful of high fructose corn syrup to help the medicine go down?

No sir!  After mixing using Morgenthaler's proportions: 3/4 oz. syrup, 1.5 oz. gin, 2 oz. sparkling water, I took a sip of the best gin and tonic ever!  Chin-chin!


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