Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

knblue

Gin and Tonic – Finetuned

Recommended Posts

Traveling to London, I noticed that gin and tonics were much more tasty and that their tonic water is slightly sweeter than ours. In their grocery stores, it is marketed as "Indian Tonic Water" instead of just plain old "Tonic Water." My question: is there a difference between Indian Tonic Water and our Tonic Water? And if there is a difference, where can I buy Indian Tonic Water?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been told by some fairly respectable Gin and Tonic drinkers that when it comes to tonic water, its Schweppes or nothing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've been told by some fairly respectable Gin and Tonic drinkers that when it comes to tonic water, its Schweppes or nothing.

We must know the same people. :smile:

Nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Indian tonic water is sold under the Schweppes brand.

I agree that it seems a bit sweeter than the tonic sold in the States. On the question of the drinks being tastier, I assume that it was not a distinction in the gins themselves? There are a number of gins sold in England which are quite good and, to my knowledge, are not widely sold in the States, such as Plymouth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Gin & Tonic the tonic is nearly as important as the gin (as is the ice and slice that make the perfect drink) and I've found nothing to beat Schweppes. London or Plymouth gin is fine so long as the alcoholic strength is adequate. The ideal seems to be about 43% abv (Portsmouth is around this, as is Tanqueray I think), 40% makes a reasonable job, 47% is a bit much but acceptable occasionally but 37.5% is not fit to clean the toilet with.

The drink's success depends of the combination of aromatics, the bitterness of the tonic (from the quinine), the chill of the ice, the zest of the citrus and the "hit" of the alcohol. Below 40% the balance goes astray and adding more gin to make up for under strength liquor doesn't make it any better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The drink's success depends of the combination of aromatics.

For my taste, the best balance of aromatics in the spirit itself is found in Boodles. While the juniper is certainly the main essence, the other botanicals are in better proportion than say Tanqueray and provide spicier high notes that really work well with the tonic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For my taste, the best balance of aromatics in the spirit itself is found in Boodles.

There you have the advantage of me sir, living in Britain I do not appear to be able to obtain this spirit, so it is probably export only. But at least it has the decency to be 45% abv.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

G&T has been one of my favorite drinks for a long time, but I find it very sweet of late. I'm going through a phase of pouring equal measures gin and Campari and adding some tonic with a slice of orange. (Christopher has a great range of Campari drinks, I wonder if this is included.) For the mo, this is a very nice drink.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find that 2 oz of Citadelle French Gin with a spritz of lime and garnished with an orange slice amongst a nice portion of Schweppes does me nicely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've been told by some fairly respectable Gin and Tonic drinkers that when it comes to tonic water, its Schweppes or nothing.

We must know the same people. :smile:

Nick

I would hasten to add that the Fever Tree tonics are on par with Schweppes. Their bitter lemon is also very good (slightly divergent from the topic but its also a mixer containing quinine).


Edited by camerasforeyes (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll go a bit further than that and suggest that Fever Tree and Q Tonic are quite a bit better than Schweppes (which, in turn, is better than the remaining brands).

Of course, you can always make your own tonic syrup.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll go further still and say "It's Fever Tree or nothing at all." In fact, Fever Tree's entire line of mixers (tonic, ginger ale, bitter lemon and club soda) are now the only stuff I use.

Q Tonic is, I'm sure, a well-made and respectable product, but to me it cannot hold a candle to Fever Tree.

Another great thing about Fever Tree? The size of the bottles, 6.6 ounces here in America -- perfect amount for 2 G&Ts.


Edited by Mike S. (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally don't like Schweppe's terribly well. For me, the corn syrup gives a gin and tonic a syrupy texture. For some gins - particularly Tanqueray, a syrupy gin - I think this is fine, but I prefer my gin and tonics to be very crisp. I like a lot of lime, and I prefer the sweetness and texture of sugar sweetened tonic waters.

I think Fever Tree is excellent, if perhaps far from the standard set by Schweppe's and Canada Dry. I will also strongly recommend Whole Foods' 360 brand tonic water. It's made with sugar instead of corn syrup, it's cheap, and in my opinion it makes for an excellent gin and tonic.

I'm curious about Q brand, but I honestly can't stand the branding, and the price is high. I suppose I should try it, though.

Has anyone tried the Italian brand, Abbondio? It's the one where every flavor is a different woman. Tonica comes in a black bottle, with a suitably raven-haired and scantily clad woman. This thread has inspired me to pick some up, I'll report back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Traveling to London, I noticed that gin and tonics were much more tasty and that their tonic water is slightly sweeter than ours.  In their grocery stores, it is marketed as "Indian Tonic Water" instead of just plain old "Tonic Water."  My question:  is there a difference between Indian Tonic Water and our Tonic Water?  And if there is a difference, where can I buy Indian Tonic Water?

The British tonic waters contain more quinine than the major American brands. The artisanal American tonics (such as Q ) contain more quinine than American Schweppes or Canada Dry, but they are still limited my American law as to how much quinine they are allowed to contain and don't have as high a quinine content as their British cousins have. Also, the British brands and the American artisanal brands are made with cane sugar, as opposed to the major American brands which are made with high fructose corn sweeteners.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Schweppes Tonic Water in the UK also has Saccharin in it (even in non-diet versions) alongside the glucose/fructose, which may make it seem sweeter. To me, this is an affront, as saccharin is not even legal as a food additive in Canada.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've tried Q tonic a few times -- enough to make it through the overpriced four-pack -- and found it somewhat undercarbonated. Am I the only one who found it this way?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've tried Q tonic a few times -- enough to make it through the overpriced four-pack -- and found it somewhat undercarbonated. Am I the only one who found it this way?

I'm with you on the overpriced and undercarbonated aspects -- though Q does provide a more complex flavor than Schweppes or other national brands, at some point I think you're gilding what should be a very simple lilly -- the tonic should act as a carrier and enhancer of the gin flavor, not play a starring role.

I also don't like the fact that Q bottles its tonic in a two drink size that can't be recapped, which is a waste in a one G&T household (I either have two drinks in quick succession or get the dog to go in for one, too)

Haven't tried Fever Tree yet, but am interested based on comments here.

I fear for both artisanal brands in this economy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm with you on the overpriced and undercarbonated aspects -- though Q does provide a more complex flavor than Schweppes or other national brands, at some point I think you're gilding what should be a very simple lilly -- the tonic should act as a carrier and enhancer of the gin flavor, not play a starring role.

On this point I must respectfully disagree: a gin and tonic has two ingredients and a garnish, all of which are critical elements. If all I was interested in was the gin, I would drink gin (or perhaps a very dry martini). Using a high-quality tonic (Fever Tree is my favorite) makes a world of difference in this humble drink, taking it from standard crappy college bar fare to something that is actually worth drinking, and it is precisely because the tonic actually brings something to the party.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm with you on the overpriced and undercarbonated aspects -- though Q does provide a more complex flavor than Schweppes or other national brands, at some point I think you're gilding what should be a very simple lilly -- the tonic should act as a carrier and enhancer of the gin flavor, not play a starring role.

On this point I must respectfully disagree: a gin and tonic has two ingredients and a garnish, all of which are critical elements. If all I was interested in was the gin, I would drink gin (or perhaps a very dry martini). Using a high-quality tonic (Fever Tree is my favorite) makes a world of difference in this humble drink, taking it from standard crappy college bar fare to something that is actually worth drinking, and it is precisely because the tonic actually brings something to the party.

Exactly. Go to a college bar and ask for a G&T, even with good gin. Then tell me the tonic doesn't matter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone here tried Pizzaiolo's (oakland, CA) house-made tonic? It may perhaps be too aromatic for some, but it certainly opened my eyes as to how important the tonic is in a G&T.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm with you on the overpriced and undercarbonated aspects -- though Q does provide a more complex flavor than Schweppes or other national brands, at some point I think you're gilding what should be a very simple lilly -- the tonic should act as a carrier and enhancer of the gin flavor, not play a starring role.

On this point I must respectfully disagree: a gin and tonic has two ingredients and a garnish, all of which are critical elements. If all I was interested in was the gin, I would drink gin (or perhaps a very dry martini). Using a high-quality tonic (Fever Tree is my favorite) makes a world of difference in this humble drink, taking it from standard crappy college bar fare to something that is actually worth drinking, and it is precisely because the tonic actually brings something to the party.

Respectfully agreeing with your respectful disagreement, let me try and refine my rather poorly made original point: yes, all ingredients are critical, and yes, poor quality makes a poor drink. My take on Q was that, 1. I didn't think its cost was worth the extra flavor, primarily because, 2. when using a premium gin (I tried it with Bluecoat and Whitley Neil) it didn't seem to me that the flavor of the tonic played all that well with the liquor. I add only that my humble palate may be permanently skewed by years of Schweppes to be able to appreciate something more complex and subtle. Fever Tree, here I come!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yojimbo, you're in for a treat. A G&T made with Fever Tree and either of the two great gins you mentioned (Bluecoat and Whitley Neill) will be outstanding. Make it with Old Raj and it enters the sublime.

BTW, if after trying Fever Tree you end up liking Q better, I'd really love to hear why. Q just does not do anything for me, but maybe I'm missing something and need to give it another go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Has anyone here tried Pizzaiolo's (oakland, CA) house-made tonic?  It may perhaps be too aromatic for some, but it certainly opened my eyes as to how important the tonic is in a G&T.

I've been meaning to try it - Pizzaiolo is a fantastic restaurant, and their bar has always been pretty great. Sadly, they seem to be doing less house-made infusions, syrups, and liqueurs lately since their first bartender left. Drinks are still great though.

If anyone's interested in setting up a tasting group for anything that we might discuss in the spirits & cocktails forum, right here in Oakland, CA, feel free to private message me on here. I don't post a lot on eGullet, but I've been lurking this forum now for ages and I can see that quite a few of you are in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Unfortunately, Piedmont Grocery just ran out of Abbondio Tonica before I got the chance to try some, so I can't add my comments on that tonic that hasn't come up yet in this thread. They do carry all of the other brands, however, including Schweppe's Indian Tonic, Q Tonic, and Fever Tree.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi everyone,

So, last time I brought up the Manhattan and asked people for some of their favorite "enhancements" to this great cocktail (even if those enhancements caused the drink to be possibly classified under some non-Manhattan name).

How about enhancements to a Gin and Tonic? What liquor, liqueur, wine, bitter, or whatever do you sometimes add to it to bring the flavor profile/complexity up a notch?

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×