Here is a recipe for homemade tonic syrup that’s perfect for making a gin and tonic. Aside from the cinchona, water, sugar, citric acid, and salt, feel free to modify this recipe to suit your tastes. This recipe provides the classic lime acidity with the added bitterness of grapefruit, and some supporting herbs and spices to give it a little backbone – I’m particularly fond of what the bay leaf adds.
To use it, simply add ¾ ounce of the syrup to 1½ ounces of gin. Add 2-3 ounces of club soda, top with ice, garnish with a lime wedge.
If you’re a gin and tonic fan, you’ll probably also enjoy this post where I ranked several popular tonic waters. In which case you’d just skip this recipe and cut to the chase.
Combine all ingredients except sugar and bay leaf in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Strain out solids and transfer back into saucepan. The liquid’s volume should now be around 4 cups.
Add and dissolve the sugar then add bay leaf. Steep for 15 minutes.
Remove bay leaf and bottle the syrup.
Caution: Measure cinchona bark precisely. Over consumption of quinine can cause cinchonism. You won’t die, but you could experience mild symptoms such as sweating, blurred vision, impaired hearing, abdominal pain, dizziness, and nausea to name a few. More severe symptoms could include temporary deafness, temporary blindness, and abnormal heartbeat.
It is safer to use the cinchona bark as opposed to cinchona powder. If you use quinine sulfate, use extreme caution and use a very accurate scale. This recipe is not intended to be used with quinine sulfate.
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