Tonic crafted by hand

This is the glorious result of my first ever attempt at making my own tonic syrup. It tastes delicious — better than nearly any other tonic I’ve had. The chinchona bark I started with is a bit more floral than I’d prefer, but I have a few other kinds on order to play with.

I followed Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s basic recipe, and it couldn’t have been easier. First, I pulverized the chinchona bark in a coffee mill. Then I added it to a sauce pan with water, citric acid, salt, allspice berries, and the zest and juice of a lemon, lime, and orange (I had no lemongrass, but will next time). Brought to a boil, simmered covered for 20 minutes, and then strained through cheese cloth and a french press.

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Once strained, I reheated and incorporated the agave syrup. The taste is bitter, tart, sweet, and awesome. I don’t have any seltzer or sparkling water on hand, but that’s fine. My first goal was to recreate the fine Tonique Gin cocktail Ed made for me at Bar Tonique in New Orleans last year. Mission accomplished! I used 3/4 oz. tonic syrup, 1 1/2 oz. gin, stirred with ice. Delicious.

Tonic gin cocktail

Chinchona bark


I ordered a few different sources of quinine to make my own tonic water. This is the first to arrive! Chinchona bark from Tenzing Momo in Seattle. It’s almost exactly a year since our gang from DisneyToon Studios descended upon Ed’s Bar Tonique in New Orleans to be educated by the man himself about homemade tonic. I’m finally getting around to making my own. Will update as I go.