How to: Make Tastier DIY Tonic Water at Home (Perfect for Gin!)

When I was a kid, we weren’t allowed to drink soft drinks much at home, so my mom would often by club soda and lightly fruit flavored sparkling waters for a treat. They sat at the side of the fridge, and I learned the colors – blue for regular, pink for raspberry, and green for lemon lime. One day – a new flavor showed up (yellow!), and I was excited to give it a try.

And it was the worse thing I ever tasted.   Turns out, the new addition was actually Canada Dry tonic water, and when you’re a kid and not expecting the strong flavors, was pretty intense.

But the weird part? I never really got over it, and I still sorta hate tonic water. I mean, I love gin, but mix with tonic (even with my beloved lime), and it tastes totally awful to me. I have no problem with bitter flavors, and have had enjoyed quinine syrup in cocktails.

So what gives? My guess is it’s actually Canada Dry commercial tonic that I don’t like, which is why I’m quite interested in this homemade option.

Marcia Simmons says, “If you’re unhappy with the flavor of commercial tonics and like to geek out in the kitchen, DIY tonic is a lot of fun. This basic recipe goes well with gin and is a great starting point for playing with your own unique herb and spice combinations.”

Get the recipe at Serious Eats: DIY Tonic Water