We hate to break it to you, but that tonic water you’re mixing with your gin is complete and utter garbage. The stuff you buy at your local grocery store (and the stuff that bartenders squirt into your drink with a plastic gun) is a bastardized version of an age old recipe. Back in the good old days, tonic water was typically a complex infusion of cinchona bark, cane sugar, and various botanicals. Today, it’s a watered-down mixture of powdered quinine, high fructose corn syrup, and carbonated soda.
For a long time, you couldn’t actually buy legit tonic — but it’s making a comeback. Following in the footsteps of Jack Rudy, artisanal tonic makers have started popping up all over the country, and they’re collectively working to bring good, traditional tonic water back from the dead.
Bradley’s Kina Tonic is the Pacific Northwest’s contribution to this effort. It’s hand crafted in Seattle with whole spices, real citrus oil, and exclusively imported Peruvian cinchona bark. You won’t find any extracts or artificial flavors here — this stuff is the real deal.
These raw ingredients give it a much more complex and layered flavor profile than the tonics you’ve probably become accustomed to. The Peruvian cinchona bark lends a very warm and earthy bitterness and rounds out the subtle sweetness and acidity of the mixture. It’s also made with real cold-pressed orange oil (no extracts!), which gives the mixture a light, citrusy finish.
And the best part? Bottles go for about 10 bucks a pop. That’s probably a bit more expensive than the $1.79 bottles of Schweppes you can get at Safeway, but Bradley’s bottles go a long way. The tonic is designed as a concentrate, so you’re supposed to mix it with carbonated water to stretch it out. One 8oz bottle is good for about ten G&T’s.