I’ve been drinking tequila and tonic ever since I went to Mexico last fall. After bringing back two giant bottles of tequila I started to substitute it for many other spirits in my favourite mixed drinks – tequila instead of rum in mojitos, tequila instead of whiskey in the Mexican lemonade, so I was intrigued by Married With Dinner’s recent tonic taste test when making tequila and tonic. Since I also enjoy a gin and tonic fairly regularly, I know that while good quality spirits are necessary, a good tonic can make all the difference. Married with Dinner had four tonics to test with, two mass market entries – the ubiquitous Canada Dry and Schweppes tonic waters, as well as two boutique tonic waters – Fever Tree and Stirrings.
“The results were interesting. Canada Dry was the clear loser with a Two Tongues Stuck Out in Disgust rating; “Overly sweet and chemical-tasting,” said our panel. Our tasters were also a bit disappointed by the Stirrings tonic. It had the advantage of tasting like natural product, but was nearly as sweet and oddly fruity as the Canada Dry. The second mass-market entry, Schweppes, fared better, although it brought out the boozy, horse-blanket nature of the tequila. The overall winner was the Fever Tree tonic, which balanced sweet and bitter and added welcome herbal notes.”
After finding a tonic recipe in Imbibe Magazine, I’ve been searching for quinine to make my own homemade tonic. It’s one of the main flavour components of tonic, but seeing as it’s a malaria remedy (and Canada doesn’t exactly have malaria outbreaks anymore) it’s not readily available. Once I’m able to make my own tonic, we’ll do a liquor and libations tonic tasting comparing mass market to homemade to see whether it’s worth the time, effort and taste to make your own.