If you only ever learn to make one drink, the classic gin and tonic should be on your list of considerations.
In its simplest form, this refreshing and slightly bitter drink is just as it sounds: gin and tonic water (over ice).
Tonic water is traditionally made from quinine, which comes from cinchona bark. Originally used to treat malaria, people drank it with sugar and water to mask its highly bitter flavour. Eventually when the meds were no longer needed gin joined the party, and the rest is history.
Today's tonic water still contains quinine, which is what gives it its distinctive bitter flavour. But, sadly, most mainstream versions also typically balance the bitterness with high-fructose corn syrup.
Not only does our version taste incredible (think a mix between bitter, sweet and effervescent) there's not a drop of HFCS to be found. (Healthy Happy Hour for the win!)
While our version doesn't shy away from sweetness (it's a syrup, after all), we opt for natural sweeteners like honey and organic sugar. And since it's used as a syrup, a little bit goes a long way.
Sweetness aside, cinchona also has some medicinal benefits, like promoting the release of digestive juices essential for the body to prepare for eating and processing the food you take in.
So help that digestive system out and sip on our Best Ever Gin and Tonic.
Homemade Tonic Water
Barely adapted from Jeffrey Morgenthaler
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat, cover, and allow the mixture to simmer for 20 minutes.
2. Remove the mixture from the heat and strain through a strainer (chinois) lined with cheesecloth. You can also use a coffee filter or press it in a French press coffee maker.
3. Once you have a clear mixture, put it back onto the stove in a clean pot over medium heat. Add the honey and sugar a little at a time, stirring until combined. Taste the syrup. It will still be quite bitter, but mixed with sparkling water, it will mellow out. To reduce the bitterness even further, add more sugar. Stir again until combined. This recipe makes about a litre or more of syrup.
4. For a delicious gin and tonic, use ¾ ounce of syrup, 1½ ounces of gin and 2 ounces of soda water. Pour into a short glass over lots of ice. Serve with a wedge of lime (or two, says our editor) and toss in a couple of dried cherries for good measure.