Tonic Syrup: First Try, More to Come

IMG_2422A while back I treated myself to the PDT cocktail book and have been very excited about trying one of the recipes. Of course most people would have started with a cocktail recipe, but I was drawn to the recipe for Tonic Syrup and Lime Cordial.  The Tonic Syrup was particularly interesting because it called for Cinchona Bark, which I could not find at my usual place (Dual Spice Store) so I broke down and ordered it on line.   Penn Herb company sells it in Bark and Powder form – I bought bark as that’s what the recipe called for.  I wonder now if you might not get a better flavor with powder, though I also think it should be easy enough to put the bark in a coffee grinder and make your own.

There are two reasons why everyone should be interested in making their own tonic water: Buying it in a plastic container is bad for the environment and it contains Monsanto approved GMO High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Someone brought this bottle of Canada Dry Tonic water to our place years ago and it’s been sitting here on the shelf – I thought about throwing it out a million times, but then thought one day someone will want a gin and tonic and if I keep it I’ll have some on hand. Well turns out that the real reason I kept it was to take a picture of the label before emptying its contents in the sink and throwing the bottle in the recycling bin.IMG_2429 IMG_2430One of the interesting things I did notice in reading the label was that citric acid was used in the making of the tonic – interesting only because many of the recipes I have subsequently found call for citric acid to be added to tonic syrup – because it helps give the syrup a good citric punch, that is often not accomplished with lime or lemon juice.IMG_2428I find peeling citrus with a serrated peeler to be the best and easiest way to go about it.

Right now I am a little overwhelmed by the various options in front of me for making tonic syrup, recipes calling for everything from Allspice to Sichuan Peppercorns to Lavender.   And why you might ask have I been looking for Tonic Syrup recipes when I was so excited to try Jim Meehan’s in The PDT Cocktail Book?  Because after making it  I have to come to the conclusion something is wrong with the recipe as it really doesn’t taste like tonic – it really doesn’t taste like much of anything.IMG_2427So I am posting all my lovely “process” pictures for you to enjoy and to prove thatI did indeed spend my afternoon cooking, it just didn’t end with me having a recipe to share with you – yet!  I’m off to get some lemon grass and I will be back next time with a recipe!IMG_2426IMG_2432IMG_2433 

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note: urbanfoodguy@gmail.com
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3 Responses to Tonic Syrup: First Try, More to Come

  1. Chris & Skip says:

    As long as it didn’t ruin the gin, it’s not a total tragedy, right? Hope you find the right formula, I’m interested in making some too.

  2. Pingback: Home Made Tonic | Urbanfoodguy

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