DIY Tonic

edited February 2021 in Recipes

Going down a rabbit hole right now and looking for insights if someone has already done a tonic on their own. I’ve done already a ginger beer that I force carbonate in a keg and want to do the same for tonic.

Looks like cinchona bark can be hard to filter back out as powder so I’m thinking about having crushed pieces. Does anyone have any practical experience in how many g/L to use. I’m thinking about starting a batch at 10 and then adjust but looking for experience from others to see if i might be lowballing it....


  • I started quite some time back collecting info and recipes for a tonic. The web is quite full of it and the quantities of cinchona bark vary. I will certainly dive back into it in the next 6 months when my distillery is complete.

    The biggest obstacle at the time for me was to acquire Cinchona bark which I finally achieved after falling prey to an internet supplier and payment scam.

    Ultimately I never went beyond this.

    But chatting to another tonic supplier in recent times, his comment was ...... the secret with tonic is to use a stabiliser and this locks flavours in as well as shelf life. He told me at the time what it was but have since forgotten. Time for a chat again.

  • I already read over the thread stated by you and the recipes you can find online are still pretty much the same except that there’s now a warning to make sure you’re not overdosing on quinine. I think I’ll start this weekend on small batch with the Morgenthaler recipe adjusted down for bark and sugar (his resulting sugar content per drink is way too much for my taste)

  • So I went with:

    • 10g of bark

    • 1 lemon, orange and lime each

    • 1 stalk of lemongrass

    • 135g white sugar

    • 10g citric acid

    The fruit was zested and juiced. Bark, lemongrass and peel steeped in in water after boiling it for about twenty minutes. Strained and filtered the back to pot, added sugar acid and juice and brought to simmer. Then chilled and filled up to 2L and carbonated at 30psi.


    The bitterness is nice and pronounced. Sweetness is good but could be dialed back a little more. Overall it’s a little too citrus-y for my taste. There’s a distinct grapefruit taste without having any added.

    Thinking about herbs to add for the next batch ...

  • edited February 2021

    Lemongrass? Thinking Thyme. Maybe toasted coriander.

  • Thyme sounds good. Thinking lavender, basil as well

  • I went basil too, but second guessed that because of color stability.

  • edited February 2021

    After getting some feedback from friends, turns out the bitterness has been ranked a little too high.

    Next try:

    • 2.5g bark
    • 2g rosebuds
    • 1 lime zested
    • 50g sugar
    • 0.5g Basil
    • 0.5g thyme
    • 2.5g citric acid
    • 500ml water

    This time, I boiled water, simmered ingredients for 15 minutes, strain and chill.

    Instead of force carbonation, I’m mixing 50/50 with club soda.

    Flavor wise the acidity is less pronounced but good and has a nicer balanced between acid, bitter and sweet.

    This one might be a keeper. I’ll have to test drive with some g&t’s to fully evaluate ;)

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