Ever wondered what’s the best tonic water for gin and tonic? Together with some friends, I tested 22 different tonics. So that by the end of this blog post, you should know.
How to find the best tonic water for gin and tonic?
I gathered my wife and four other experienced gin and tonic drinkers (read: borderline alcoholics) for a tasting of no less than 22 different tonics. As we all know, taste is personal. This means that some people may not agree with the result of this test.
What did we look for?
We tried to have an open mind and to think about what type of gin and tonic the different tonics would work with. We tried to find either a tonic that was a good allrounder or a tonic that would be perfect for a special kind of gin and tonic.
We had gathered tonics from all around Scandinavia and Germany. Mostly picked up at the local supermarkets either at home or when traveling.
|Schweppes Indian Tonic||This is the tonic we all know. The taste is on the sweet side, with clear citrus.||Good all-round tonic, especially for gins with citrus, like Gordons London Dry|
|Schweppes Dry Tonic||Fruity and dry||In a Bombay Sapphire GT||
|Thomas Henry Tonic||Like Schweppes Indian Tonic, but sweeter||A gin with a lot of juniper||
|Casino Indian Tonic Water||This is not tonic. Tastes like old Sprite.||Watering plants?||
|Premier Tonic Water||Same as the Casino||Cheap vodka?||
|Fever Tree Indian Tonic Water||Fresh, bubbly and neutral||Most G&T’s||
|Fever Tree Naturally Light Tonic||Light, neutral, a bit salty||G&T with a light gin||
|Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water||Salt, minerals, hint of basil||Strawberry G&T or a flowery gin like Bombay or Monkey 47||
|Britvic Indian Tonic Water||A little bit sweet with a hint of vanilla||Opihr gin or a strawberry GT||
|Fentimans Indian Tonic||Lemongrass. Maybe a bit overpowering?||Bombay Sapphire GT||
|Peter Spanton Lemon Grass Tonic||Sawdust and wet horse||A hazmat suit?||
|Peter Spanton London Tonic||The first impression was good. The aftertaste is a bit artificial.||Classic GT||
|Thomas Henry Elderflower Tonic||Flowery. Honey melon. The best elderflower tonic in the test||Bombay Sapphire East||
|Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic Water||Flowery, mint||Dry-Fly GT with grapefruit||
|Peter Spanton Cardamom Tonic||Cardamom||Bulldog GT with orange and cardamom||
|Franklin & Sons Natural Indian Tonic Water||Nice round and citrusy||A G&T with lime||
|Fever Tree Aromatic Tonic Water||Spicy and exciting||Strawberry GT or a GT with hibiscus||
|Indi & Co Strawberry Tonic||Artificial strawberry taste||Might work with a really good strawberry gin?||
|Indi & Co Lemon Tonic||Sweaty feet and drain cleaner||Best used as drain cleaner||
|Fever Tree Sicilian Lemon Tonic||Reminds you of Schweppes Grape Soda. Overpowering taste.||Martin Miller Gin with lots of basil||
|AQ Extra Dry Tonic||Tasteless, dry||?||
|BTW Tonic Water||“The definitive tonic”||Almost any G&T||
Is it really possible to single out the best tonic water for gin and tonic?
I believe so. Below, I have listed the three best all-round tonics and the three best tonics to use for making something that deviates from the classical gin and tonic.
Best all-round tonic water
1. BTW Tonic Water
2. Fever Tree Indian Tonic Water
3. Schweppes Indian Tonic
Best specialty tonic water
1. Thomas Henry Elderflower Tonic
2. Britvic Indian Tonic Water
3. Fever Tree Aromatic Tonic Water
I must say that we learned a lot from this round of tasting. It is not possible to say that one single tonic is the best tonic water for gin and tonic. It all depends on the gin and your personal preferences. The artificial taste found in some of the tonics can be masked by garnishing with fresh herbs or fruit peel.
The Schweppes Indian Tonic Water that we all know get’s a lot of undeserved beating. This is a tonic that did well compared to the so-called premium brands.
There is a lot of bad tonic on the market. Stay away from the private-label tonics, but don’t be afraid to try something other than Schweppes or Fever Tree.
What is your favorite tonic?