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Jan 27, 2007 10:51 AM

Tonic Water

Any recommendations on where I can find Tonic Water (not Schweppes or Canada Dry). I would prefer a brand that uses cane sugar not glucose/fructose--which I find sickly sweet tasting and try to avoid. Whole Foods used to carry their own 365 brand but had to discontinue selling it in Canada because the labelling was not bilingual. Any suggestions would be appreciated--distance is not an issue!

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  1. Reviving this thread because I also am looking for tonic water alternatives in Toronto. While I have no huge issue with Canada Dry and Schweppes in my G & T, I keep hearing how much better tonic water tastes in the UK versus North America, which makes me wonder what I'm missing.

    I know there are places in Toronto where you can buy UK brands of potato chips and candies: anyone have similar sources on unusual (and hopefully good) Tonic Water?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Gary

      I tend to agree about the quality of Tonic water in Canada...British tonic water tends to be less sweet and more bitter (I think it's due to a higher content of quinine and the use of cane sugar). Q Tonic is a great brand but I haven't seen it in Canada (bought some at Dean and Deluca in Manhattan). Soda Pop Central in Whitby often carries some hard to find brands (try the Briar's birch beer)

      For british goods I've found A bit of Home to be pretty good (Scweppes Indian Tonic Water would be the brand to ask for - not the regular Schweppes tonic)

      If you find what you're looking for please post...I have a bottle of Hendricks Gin that will thank you

      1. re: Finnegan


        About to embark on Gin/Tonic tasting extravaganza. Anyone know places to buy types of tonic other than Canada Dry/Schweppes? E.g.

        *update* Found a listing of places in Ontario where Q tonic is sold:

        1. re: echeng25

          Wow, never thought about this. Even is it just possible to buy quinine or is that a prescription drug (it used to be)? Though I can't say that Canada Dry has let me down.

          1. re: echeng25

            I too can only find the Schweppes/Canada Dry versions. HOWEVER, I have found that 'Ting' provides a similarly refreshing alternative (although obviously not the same). And still suits the G&T abbreviation!

          2. re: Finnegan

            I purchased Q Tonic today at Organic Garage in Oakville for $2.67 per 187 ml glass bottle. I tried it in a Gin&Tonic and was not disappointed. It is pricey but worth it for the decent occassional G&T.

        2. Here's a thought...I think schweppes and Canada Dry make Kosher versions of tonic water made with cane sugar instead of corn syrup (fructose). I usually stock up on Kosher Coke (The real original Coke) each spring around Passover. Might be worth looking for tonic water around this time too.

          1. I too would love to be able to find a good tonic water. When I was in London, select bars sold this brand called Britvic. It was really good! Much better than the Schweppes Indian Tonic Water, which was the alternative. Britvic was served in little glass bottles... Very old school. Honestly, I never liked gin and tonic until I had Britvic. I typed that in the search bar and nothing came up... It has the exact same ingredients as Schweppes Indian Tonic water (cane sugar included), but they taste completely different. If anyone knows where I can get Britvic that would be awesome!!!!

            2 Replies
            1. re: pinkskittles

              I have yet to find Britvic in the GTA and none of the British import stores seem to stock it--at least the ones I have tried. I did luck out in finding a UK brand of Tonic Water and Bitter Lemon called Fever Tree
     sold at Whole Foods for $6.99 for 4 200ML bottles. Q tonic is a decent choice also but is expensive and hard to find.

              1. re: ParsleySage

                I've been looking all summer for a decent tonic - I can't drink the regular stuff because glucose-fructose does not agree with my fructose-sensitive tummy, and some of the high-end ones (like Q) contain agave nectar, which is even higher in fructose so I haven't even bothered trying to find it. Today after a summer of resorting to PC Diet Tonic (which I will only use when desperate and NEVER with my good gin - even diet Schweppes or Canada Dry would be better but I can never seem to find it), I was in Highland Farms, looking at the various imported and specialty sodas, and happened to find Fever Tree tonic on a low shelf. I think it was $3.49 or so for a 500 mL bottle. Made with real sugar, and the bottles are small enough that I think I can actually get through it before it goes completely flat. More importantly, I FINALLY have a tonic that I might be willing to mix my precious, precious Hendricks with. It DEFINITELY goes well with my Whitley Neill (which, for those who are fans, is a freakin' STEAL right now at the LCBO - they knocked $4 off of the price since they discontinued it and it is a HUGE step up from anything else at that price level).

            2. Since several people have mentioned "UK" (British) as a source...I'll give you the following contact...give them a call to check it out..........
              phone numbers are on the website along with a list of what they have available, but I would try to speak with them directly as well...
              They seem to have 2 locations East & West.............good luck

              1 Reply
              1. This week I found some Q Tonic at Bruno's. Amazing in a G&T but insanely expensive.

                4 Replies
                1. re: obstructionist

                  Yes Q is crazy expensive! I was paying $2.97 per bottle for Q at Organic Garage. I found Fever-Tree Tonic and Bitter Lemon at Whole Foods for $6.99 for 4 bottles. Now I alternate between the two.

                  1. re: obstructionist

                    Q Tonic water available at Vincenzo's in Waterloo.

                    1. re: nickital

                      Curious -

                      which tastes better - Fever Tree or Q?

                      1. re: millygirl

                        Fever Tree has more flavors...Regular tonic, Bitter Lemon, Light Indian tonic but it's sweeter than Q. Q Tonic is a bit more dry than Fever Tree. I tend to favor Fever Tree because it's easier to find in stores and less expensive than Q.