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Tonic water has an iconic bitterness, best known for being the pairing-of-choice when drinking gin. Despite its like-for-like appearance to soda or lemonade, it has a far more unique taste which sets it apart from other carbonated beverages.
The base liquid of tonic water is soda, and the signature ingredient is quinine, a compound sourced from the bark of a cinchona tree. Sugars are added to the sparkling water and quinine mix to balance the flavors.
Fun fact – a cinchona tree is also known as a ‘fever tree’ and is the inspiration behind the leading tonic water brand’s name and logo.
It’s believed that quinine has healing properties. That’s why tonic water was successfully marketed as a treatment for malaria in the early 20th century. These days, it’s rarely used for medicinal purposes, and it is most commonly consumed as a spirit mixer.
If you’re new to tonic water and are wondering how best to enjoy drinking it, here are a few suggestions:
- Simple Serve – There’s nothing wrong with a thirst-quenching, straight-up, tonic water. Quinine is an interesting flavor that deserves appreciation, even without alcohol. Why not serve your tonic water on ice with a twist of lime or a slide of grapefruit, too?
- Mocktail – The exciting taste of tonic water makes it an ideal ingredient for mocktails. Infuse tonic water with mint, citrus and cucumber to create refreshing, alcohol-free cocktail alternatives.
- Spirit-Mixer – Indulging in a tonic water mixer doesn’t always need to be as simple as a classic gin and tonic. There is a range of different gins to choose from these days, such as pink, sloe and non-alcoholic. Similarly, tonic water is now available in a huge variety of flavors, making a huge number of possible combinations for this famous duo.
When it comes to spirits, selecting a certain bottle for its characteristics, flavors and brand is standard procedure. This shouldn’t be any different for choosing your tonic water.
We’ve rounded up the 12 best tonic waters available online, which you can have delivered to your door. All the big brands are covered along with popular, lesser-known alternatives. Among the classic tonic waters are some flavored options along with Top Hat Tonic Syrup which will give your seltzer a quinine transformation with just a few dashes.
1. Q Tonic Water
Q Tonic Water is one of the most popular tonic waters in America. At only 35 calories per 6-ounce bottle, it’s on the healthier end of the tonic water spectrum. It’s made with real quinine sourced from Peru as well as organic agave. This tonic water is also highly carbonated to keep your drink fizzy for longer.
Q has designed the flavor of their tonic water for being used as a mixer. It’s less sweet than other competitors to allow for the chosen spirit to be noticed and appreciated rather than masked by a sugar overload. Following the success of Q’s tonic water, the brand now offers a range of mixer drinks, including various types of tonic along with sparkling grapefruit and ginger beer.
2. Polar Diet Tonic Water
This Polar Diet Tonic Water comes pre-flavored with lime, so you can enjoy the taste of a garnish without the added weight of one. Polar is a family-owned company, based in the USA, which is committed to delivering the best quality beverages across a variety of flavors. Within their portfolio of tonics, they offer diet, citrus and bitter lemon to name a few. Six bottles of tonic are included in each case, which works out to be just over $1.00 per litre. That’s a lot of tasty tonic for relatively little money.
3. Apothecary Feek Organic Fire Tonic
The pharmaceutical appearance of Apothecary Feek Organic Fire Tonic makes it easy to understand it’s packed with goodness. Designed to boost your immune system, this tonic contains apple cider vinegar, turmeric, horseradish, ginger and more. This tonic can be enjoyed straight or mixed with juice or soda for a less intense hit. You can also spice up salad dressings and cocktails with it. A daily dose can do you well.
4. Top Hat Tonic Syrup
A few dashes of Top Hat Tonic Syrup transforms normal seltzer water into tonic water. It contains five times the natural quinine of regular tonic water and is also sugar-free. This particular product is elderflower and grapefruit flavored. It’s a delicious way to upgrade your soda and quench your thirst. Plus, it’s also well-loved by bartenders and can add a tasty twist to gin-based cocktails.
5. Canada Dry Tonic Water
These 10-ounce Canada Dry Tonic water bottles are an ideal grab-and-go drink. The pack of six is delivered together with a handy attachment layer, making them easy to carry both as a whole or individually. Canada Dry is a proudly American brand, despite its name. The company is committed to delivering some of the most popular drinks made in the USA.
6. Schweppes Tonic Water
BEST CROWD PLEASER
Schweppes is one of the most trusted beverage brands when it comes to carbonated drinks. Their sparkling tonic water is instantly recognizable from the yellow band label and logo which wraps each bottle in this pack of four. Although these particular bottles are each one liter in size, a range of other containers in varying materials and sizes are also available.
7. San Pellegrino Variety Pack
BEST VARIETY PACK
Eight bottles of three various sparkling drinks are included in the San Pellegrino Variety Pack. Two are tonic water-based beverages, while the third is a spicy ginger beer. All of the slim-style bottles are shaped the same but feature different colored branding per drink type.
One of the included tonic waters is oakwood flavored for a dry finish which pairs well with white rum. The other embraces hints of citrus for a more fragrant taste and makes a mean match with gin.
8. Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water
Fever-Tree makes quality drinks, and their Premium Indian Tonic Water is no exception. They source their quinine from the Democratic Republic of Congo to create their award-winning delicious flavor. Intense carbonation levels are used to ensure the botanical aromas and natural sweeteners are prominent when drinking. Each bottle is a comfortable amount for cocktail mixing, so you’re more than covered for 24 gin and tonics here.
9. Zevia Tonic Water
BEST ZERO CALORIES
Zevia Tonic Water is zero calories, contains zero sugar and will leave you with zero guilt. Enjoy a care-free gin and tonic when using one of these suitably sized cans as your mixer of choice. The stevia-sweetened tonic water is infused with orange and citrus flavors to deliver a refreshing tonic, ideal for picnics and summer drinking. You’ll be hooked on this good-for-you tonic water before you know it.
10. Boylan Heritage Tonic Water
BEST WITH GIN
Boylan Heritage Tonic Water bottles are slightly larger than usual at 10 ounces per serving. There are 24 bottles included with each order, and they come presented in a branded white box, well suited for delivery. Along with quinine, citrus and botanicals, cane sugar is added to Boyan Heritage’s unique flavor mix to produce the brand’s signature balance of bitter and sweet tonic water.
11. Navy Hill Soda + Tonic Water
BEST SODA MIX
Navy Hill embraces the relationship between soda and tonic to deliver tasty blends infused with additional flavors. This particular product is enhanced with juniper and is designed to complement your liquor of choice. A plain tonic water is also available, along with a ginger-infused option, too. There are 24 medium-sized bottles included, and every order is hand-packed with care in the USA.
12. Q Tonic Superior Tonic Water
With a top price tag comes a top product. Q Tonic’s Superior Tonic Water is a dream balance between bitter quinine and moreish sweeteners. Just from looking at the elegantly designed monochrome bottle, you can tell this beverage is more than the standard tonic water. There are 12 large bottles included with each order, and they’ll look right at home in the fridge or on the dinner table as a pouring alternative to wine.