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Tonic Syrup (concentrate)

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Hmm, I wonder what it is about August that brings out the liquor questions...I notice another one just recently posted. :-)

Mine is about finding a local source of above-average tonic syrup--know one?

Most tonic waters (pre-mixed) are a little low in flavor and high in sugar. The liquor stores I've gone to or called all sell tonic water only.

Where might I find a really good-quality tonic syrup/concentrate in town? Would any shops besides liquor stores carry this? What are the better liquor stores in the metro area?

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  1. France44 has it listed on their website. You might also try Surdyk's or Haskells.
    Or just make your own, and you can control the sweetness.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Slightly Grey

      Have you tried making your own? How did it turn out? Any sources locally for the the Cinchona bark?

      1. re: ChancesR

        I didn't. A friend of mine made his own and said that it wasn't much different from the syrup that he purchased. Don't know where he got the bark.

      2. re: Slightly Grey

        The darker color of TomR's, which France44 has, is intriguing--we'll get some and compare to the others we've tasted.

        1. re: Enso

          Simmering the Cinchona bark will produce a dark colour, which is further enhanced adding the simple syrup.

          Like marmalade, if you will.

          1. re: SWISSAIRE

            Sure, makes sense. I'm not at the point of wanting to make my own. Yet, at least. ;-)

      3. I've seen the Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Tonic concentrate http://jackrudycocktailco.com/ at Zipp's, Fall's, and the Kowalski's Liquor on Hennepin. Haven't seen any others.

        6 Replies
        1. re: jaycooke

          haven't heard of those stores, do you know how the price compares to surdyks? We paid about $16 total.

          1. re: Enso

            Sorry, I was not paying attention! Zipp's should be on your radar, though, they have a large selection of tonics and bitters and ginger beers and other mixers.

            1. re: jaycooke

              This thread made me detour to Zipp's on the way home yesterday. They had Tomr's, Jack Rudy Cocktail Co., and one other that - if I remember correctly - was more expensive than the others. I picked up a bottle of Tomr's and am going to give it a try this evening. I was also tempted to pick up a bottle of one of the Minnesota whiskeys such as 7 Wells or Minnesota 13, but ultimately did not pull the trigger. I'd like to try one of those sometime, but that's probably grist for another thread.

              1. re: bob s

                Wondering how the prices compare...what did you pay for the TomR's? Do you recall teh cost of the JR?

                1. re: Enso

                  The TomR's was $7.99. I want to say that the JR was about $15.

          1. I seem to remember seeing it at Golden Fig in St. Paul not so long ago. You could call first, but it's worth visiting anyway.

            2 Replies
            1. re: latte4me

              They have Jack Rudy at the Golden Fig. I most recently bought it at Surdyk's, where it was cheaper.

              1. re: KristinT013

                We just got the JR @ Surdyk's also. It's nice enough, not a 'wow' for us.

            2. I can't recall the name, but Thomas Liquors also carries some.

              1. My wife and I enjoyed Gin & Tonics years ago.
                Today we just like Tonic water, chilled, and lightly effervesced.

                So after having fun trying any and all tonic water mixes we could find in Europe and North America, we make our own using a Soda Stream Source.

                1. Tonic syrup: Soda Stream sells one. Tom's and John's are also excellent, and both freeze well.

                2. Cinchona Bark: One of the best suppliers is Penn Herb.com, the cut variety, in a 16 ounce zip top bag. And they ship.

                One recipe, of many:

                1 cup Cinchona bark, cut, boiled and simmered in 4 cups water. After 1 hour simmering, strain the bark using a fine strainer, and return to a large pot.
                2 Lemons, juiced, zested, with everything added to the pot.
                2 limes, same treatment.
                1 Lemongrass, stalk, chopped and added.
                8 Cloves, whole, added.
                10 Juniper berries, whole, added.
                Simple Syrup, 20 ounces, added.

                Cook slow, strain again twice, bottle, and chill. Nicely bitter.

                Other additives can include citric acid, star anise, orange peel, citron, rosemary, and other aromatics.

                Cucumbers, if used, go into the glass thin sliced, at an angle against the glass wall, before adding ice and the actual tonic water. A nice option for guests.