A 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. One 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.I 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.So 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!