Cinchona bark has a number of medicinal uses, but the use that interests us most at the Hop+Grain is for making our own tonic water for gin. It’s used in tonic water for it’s distinctive bitter flavour, and contains a small amount of quinine.
It’s not difficult to make your own tonic water, but note that home-made tonic will be yellow-brown coloured, unlike the clear commercial varieties.
Try this simple recipe (sourced from seriouseats.com) or a more complex one below (from David Lebovitz)
Simple tonic water:
Place in a saucepan:
– zest and juice of a lime and a lemon
– 2 cups water
– 2 tsp cinchona bark
– 1 1/4 tsp citric acid (https://www.thehopandgrain.com.au/product/citricacid100g/)
– 1 stalk lemongrass, chopped – or 1 tbl dried lemongrass (https://www.thehopandgrain.com.au/product/lemongrass/)
– 1 1/2 cups sugar
Bring to a boil, simmer 45 minutes, then leave to steep off the heat a further 20 minutes.
Strain and store in the fridge.
Mix with soda water at 1 part syrup to 4 parts water. Don’t pre-mix it all, just mix in small batches as need to in the glass.
Tonic water with more flavours:
Place in a saucepan:
– 1 litre water
– zest and juice of a lime, a lemon, an orange and a grapefruit (or your combination)
– 75g chopped fresh lemongrass (or 25g dried https://www.thehopandgrain.com.au/product/lemongrass/)
– 33g (3tbl) citric acid (https://www.thehopandgrain.com.au/product/citricacid100g/)
– 22g cinchona bark
– 10 allspice berries
– 5 green cardamom pods (lightly crushed) (add link)
– 2 small star anise (https://www.thehopandgrain.com.au/product/staranise/)
– 1tsp salt
– 1/4 tsp black peppercorns
Bring to a boil, simmer 15 minutes, then leave to steep as it cools to room temperature.
Transfer all into a large screw-top jar, and keep in the fridge for 2 days, giving a shake a few times.
Strain the spices from the liquid using coffee filter or several layers of cheesecloth, repeating until the liquid is sediment-free.
Mix with a sugar syrup made using 250g sugar (1 1/4 cup) with 250ml water (1 cup) to make your tonic cordial.
Mix with soda water at 1 part syrup to 1 part water.