Switch to a local tonic water, to support indie artisan brands. Often enjoyed alone or as a mixer for gin or vodka), these brands offer something different, from the same generic brands. Tonic water is a carbonated soft drink that’s made with quinine (originally used to protect against malaria).
Today the drink has far lower content to give it the bitter flavour, but this means some brands use artificial sweetener). Some drugs for heart and other conditions interact with quinine, so ask your doctor if relevant, before drinking it. For everyone else, just serve with ice and a slice!
- Fentimans Mixers (Northumberland) are all made with natural ingredients. As well as the premium Indian tonic water and a connoisseurs version (lime & lemongrass) there are other flavours including elderflower & rose, pink grapefruit, ginger beer with muddle lime and pink rhubarb,
- Square Root Artemisia Tonic (London) is made with mugwort (not for allergies, esp. daisies) and tarragon. This company also makes its own non-alcoholic ready-made gin and tonic (made with coriander, cardamom, Persian dried lime, Sicilian lemon peel and liquorice).
- Lamb & Watt is a premium range of organic tonic waters, using water sourced from the Lake District in Cumbria. There a light version (sweetened with blue agave). Plus flavoured tonic waters: cucumber, elderflower, basil and hibiscus (avoid for pregnancy).
- Bermondsey Mixer Co (London) uses raw natural quinine, that is not too overpowering. Handcrafted locally, the standard version is accompanied by cucumber and grapefruit versions. Plus it offers a tonic syrup (mix with carbonated water, to make your own tonic water).
- Franklin & Sons (London) offers tonic waters with Staffordshire water and British sugar: the range includes a light version (just uses half the sugar), Sicilian lemon and Mallorcan (rosemary and thyme).
- Lovely Drinks Zesty Lime Tonic Water is a refreshing change, made with a dash of whole lime juice. Ideal alone or with a craft gin.
- Gallybird (Sussex) was created after experimenting in a country kitchen. Sweetened with stevia, the drink is named after a spotted woodpecker of Sussex origin. This company also makes stevia drops, which you can use to sweeten cocktails, mocktails or even cups of tea and protein shakes.
- Twelve Below is a range of naturally low-sugar tonic waters, sweetened with agave. From the Chiltern Hills, flavours include classic premium, apple & garden mint, pear & cardamom or rhubarb ginger.
Spiced Cordials from Cheshire
Jeffrey’s Handcrafted Cordials (Cheshire) are made with natural herbs and spices. Choose from Sicilian Lemon (with warm spices), Yarrow Rosehip Elderflower, Oriental Lime or Classic Indian Tonic Syrup (again, mix with carbonated water to make your own tonic water).