Aaron Lahey
March 10, 2015 | || Cocktail Recipes ||, || Nonalcoholic Cocktail Recipes || | Aaron Lahey

Temperance Tuesday: Spring Tonic

Hello all and welcome to this week's Temperance Tuesday! Today I will be highlighting another of our bittersweet cocktails, the Spring Tonic. This drink has been extremely well received in the shop. With bright, floral flavors and a touch of tropical pineapple gum, this is a drink that truly hearkens the coming of spring.

Spring Tonic
Makes one 16 oz drink
2.5 oz Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Elderflower Tonic Syrup
1.5 oz Liber & Co. Pineapple Gum Syrup
2 dashes (12-16 drops) Fee Brothers Orange Flower Water
4 drops (NOT DASHES!!!) Scrappy's Lavender Bitters*

Fill pint glass with ice. Add tonic and gum syrup. Fill with soda water. Top with orange flower water and lavender bitters. Garnish with lavender sprig.

*Note: In this drink, be very conservative with the lavender bitters. Any more than four drops and the lavender takes over, causing you to lose the subtle interplay of the different floral components.

Want to take this Temperance Tonic in a post-Prohibition direction? Try adding 2 shots of our NVD Old Hollywood Ginn.

One of the main components in this cocktail is a tonic syrup. I want to take a moment to talk about quinine and different forms of tonic. Quinine, the main ingredient in tonic, is an alkaloid found naturally in the bark of the Cinchona tree. The Quechua, a tribe indigenous to Peru, originally steeped the bark in sweetened water to aid with muscle relaxation. Europeans incorporated quinine into their medical practices, using it to effectively treat malaria since the 17th century. Even today, quinine is used as a home remedy for muscle spasms and cramps. As time progressed, we have been able to extract quinine to higher levels of purity, and this pure quinine powder is what is now added to most commercial tonic water.

The most common form of tonic on the market today is tonic water. For my personal preferences, most tonic water is far too bitter, with an almost chemical aftertaste. This is due to the fact, as I mentioned earlier, pure quinine powder is being added to it, as opposed to an extraction of Cinchona bark. In my cocktails, I much prefer using tonic syrup.

Tonic syrup is actually quite a bit more similar to the original Peruvian preparation of tonic. Cinchona bark is steeped with flavorful herbs and spices, and sweetened with sugar or agave to balance out the sharp bite of quinine. Warm reddish brown in color, tonic syrup adds a rich complexity to any number of drinks, from tiki drinks to gin fizzes (not to mention adding new life to a stale gin & tonic).

Now a brief note about the other ingredients, Liber & Co. Pineapple Gum Syrup is an awesome ingredient. The pineapple note it lends is subtle, giving it much more versatility than one would originally think. Far from being confined to tropical rum and tiki drinks, I use this syrup just as often in a light gin cocktail or a dark whisky one. It has a brightness and balance to it often lacking in simple syrups. The addition of gum Arabic makes it even more versatile in vintage cocktails or egg white drinks.

Fee Brothers Orange Flower Water lends a light, sweet floral flavor, but must be used in moderation. This is another ingredient that can easily overwhelm a cocktail. Most well known as a key ingredient in the ubiquitous cocktail, The Ramos Gin Fizz.

Scrappy's Lavender Bitters are made with true herb maceration (the right way to make bitters) in Seattle, Washington. This is my personal favorite brand of lavender bitters on the market, as I think it gives the best, well rounded, lavender flavor. The closest to the fresh herb I should say. That being said, as I mentioned earlier, these bitters are very potent, and might need to be used in conjunction with another bitters in some cocktails as not to overwhelm with lavender. 

Well, that's all for this week folks. Until next time,
Your ever humble, bitter bartender,
Aaron Lahey


Katherine Anderson's Gravatar
Katherine Anderson
@ Mar 22, 2015 at 12:28 AM
Where do I get these ingredients? It sounds yummy!

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