While the rest of the world was drinking margaritas this week, I was enjoying some homemade tonic. I got the idea while reading The Drunken Botanist. I love this book. It combines everything I enjoy...nature, history, and booze.
I built up quite a thirst reading about malaria and the race to fine potent cinchona bark. So to the amazon (.com) I went to find cinchona bark (a.k.a quinine). $60 later...yeah, dude, this stuff's not cheap... a 4oz bag of the brown powder was on its way.
The recipe is simple:
4 cups filtered water
3 cups sugar
3 tbsp Cinchona Bark
3 tbsp citric acid (preservative)
Zest of 3 lemons
Zest on 1 orange
1/2 cup coriander
1/4 cup crushed juniper berries
Bring water and sugar to a boil until sugar has dissolved. Add remaining ingredients. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain once with wire strainer, then strain again through cheese cloth until free of bark powder.
Added to club soda and you've got your very own tonic water.
It was a simple process to achieve something I'm really proud of. The worse part was the straining. I plan to experiment with the recipe more. Perhaps adding lavender or mint to the mix.
On its own the syrup is quite potent and tart. With club soda and gin (or vodka), it's really refreshing.