Freshen Things Up with Five Easy Tonic Cocktail Recipes

By Eric Twardzik · 05/13/2021

Tonic water may be the basis for the drink that introduced you to gin, but don’t let that limit your perception of the mixer. A miraculous blend of carbonated water, sugar, and bitter quinine—an alkaloid first developed as a preventative measure against malaria—tonic has a place in more complex cocktails as well as the no-fuss G&T. In honor of the classic warm-weather refresher, here are several top-choice, tonic-centric recipes from Boston barkeeps.

This serves-two dram at Saltie Girl builds up a base of hibiscus-infused tequila, mezcal, lime juice, and agave syrup before topping it off with Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic. The end result is smoky, sweet, acidic, floral—and almost too good to share. 

Shy Lady
On paper, there’s not a lot that separates this Shy Bird fan-favorite from a standard Gin and Tonic: It’s built from Hendrick’s and tonic water. But, it’s brightened by the addition of lime juice and a house-made hibiscus syrup, then served up in a coupe glass—which gives this low-ABV drink a classier appearance worthy of its name.

The Perfect Storm
Pagu’s menu is peppered with Japanese and Spanish flavors, and the Perfect Storm cocktail manages to mix both in the same glass. What starts as a Spanish-style “Gin Tonic” made with local gin is enhanced by lime juice, pineapple juice, Sichuan peppercorn syrup, and Japanese Chili and Lime bitters.

Thicket & Tonic
To create this summer-ready highball at Craigie on Main, bartenders infuse Hendrick’s Gin with fresh blackberries, adding a fruity twist to the cucumber-forward spirit. In addition to lime juice, tonic water, and simple syrup, the drink contains Dolin Blanc Vermouth, which imparts complexity without spiking the alcohol-by-volume.

Photo Credit: Short Path

A Short Path Gin and Tonic, Six Ways
This list couldn’t wrap up without a proper G&T, so here are six of them. Each one starts with a different gin from Everett’s Short Path Distillery, which produces a lavender-centric flagship and London Dry styles year-round, in addition to four seasonal variants. Complementary garnishes emphasizing each gin’s botanical character spruce up the distinctive sippers.

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