Homemade tonic water – Beta

Homemade Tonic water – Beta

Homemade tonic water
Homemade tonic water

There are two ways to make tonic water, either the infusion method or the decoction.  Mercifully, they are both very straightforward and apparently yield excellent results.

I’ve only tried one of these methods and so I’ve called this post Homemade tonic water Beta. I intend to try both a few more times in order to perfect the recipe. I will post the results, well if I remember.

This time I’m just going to try the decoction method. I’m going to simmer all of the ingredients together. The infusion method is a cold infusion and, as ingredients can loose their potency when boiled I’ll be interested to see what happens.

I’ll be interested too to hear if you have had a go at making tonic water, either from this recipe or someone else’s. Let me know what you did differently and the results.

Homemade Tonic water method one

In many of the recipes I looked at the citrus and botanicals varied. So, if there is a particular gin you like you might want to match your tonic with it, enhancing the flavours. Perhaps experiment a little and use some floral flavours too like rose petals or elderflower. But do not replace the cinchoa bark as this is essential.


1 litre water
500g sugar
2 limes
1 lemon
1 orange
28g Cinchoa bark
28g Citric acid
1-4 sticks of Lemongrass*
2-4 cardamom pods
10 allspice berries
Zest the citrus fruits
Soda water

*Although I’d ran out and used lemon balm. The final results were good, but without anything to compare them to, I just don’t know how good the tonic could be.

Equipment needed

Accurate small scales
Large saucepan
Wooden spoon
Small sieve
A bottle or two


Zest then juice the citrus fruit.

Put everything in the pan and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes. Stir continuously at first to ensure the sugar has fully dissolved.

Strain through the sieve and the cheese cloth and through the funnel into the bottles then allow to cool. You might want to strain into a jug first as this reduces the risk of shattering or melting your bottles. It will keep in the fridge for about a month.

The resulting syrup can be diluted at around 4:1 with soda water/table water to make fizzy tonic water. As this recipe yields a bit more than one bottle there is a bit left over, this can be frozen and used as ice cubes in gin and soda water. Making a gin and tonic that slowly becomes more tonicy, and therefore more refreshing as it warms.