Effervescent tonic water can be used for more than just Gin & Tonics. No shade to the G&T—it’s one of our favorite cocktails ever, when made properly—but the next you pick up a bottle of tonic, skip the basic two-ingredient cocktail and try something a little more interesting. Here, the best drinks to make with tonic water.
The Best Cocktails to Make with Tonic Water (Besides Gin & Tonics)
Mixing coffee and tonic water is a common practice in Europe, particularly in Spain. It’s an unlikely combination, but one that succeeds against all odds, especially in this cocktail by Ivy Mix of Brooklyn’s Leyenda. Three bitter ingredients—Fernet-Vallet, cold brew coffee and tonic—meld together with floral St-Germain for a much tastier alternative to your Dunkin Donuts iced coffee.
Tonic water may not be used in many tiki cocktails, but the mixer is a natural fit for the genre’s complex flavors. In this drink from John Frizell and Tyler Caffall of Brooklyn’s Fort Defiance, ultra-potent Navy Strength gin gets elevated with Q tonic, fresh pineapple juice and lime, while muddled cardamom pods add some spicy, tiki flair.
navy strength gin
fresh pineapple juice
Inspired by sweet and sour country lemonade, the Yellowjacket Jubilee from Chris Churilla of the Bit House Saloon in Portland, OR, blends a heavy dose of lemon juice with gin, tonic and a homemade lavender cordial and ginger syrup. The result is a light and refreshing spritz worthy of any garden party.
Created by Carlos Ruiz at New Jersey’s Crystal Tavern, this alluring, pitch black cocktail uses bubbly tonic to lighten some of its more intensely flavored ingredients, such as smoky scotch, earthy black lime powder and bitter coffee. A frothy egg white topping cradles edible flowers to complete the cocktail’s dark and light, yin and yang concept.
black lime syrup
How do you make a thirst-quenching Gin & Tonic even more refreshing? You mix it with two of the most cooling ingredients there are: cucumber and aloe vera. Stand up to the sun with this heat beating mix of homemade pineapple-aloe syrup, fresh cucumber juice, gin, lime juice and tonic water—perfect for a day at the beach.