Gin and Tonic with Homemade Quinine Syrup

July 30, 2015

I have never craved sleep more in my entire life than these last few months with an almost-one-year-old. To say she’s an active baby would be an understatement. As soon as her legs touch the ground each morning, she’s off like the Tasmanian Devil. Come to think of it, she kinda sounds like him too. Or perhaps one of those robot vacuums would be a better analogy: slow, steady, and a whole lot of bumping into furniture. At the end of the day a good stiff cocktail is long overdue. Although, the last thing I can imagine is heading out to the bar. Sadly, I’m well on my way to having my “regular” certification at the Hotsy Totsy revoked!! Instead, I’ve been doing my best to stay creative with the cocktails at home. This week I mixed up some homemade tonic water. If you’re a gin and tonic lover, this is a MUST! Don’t get me wrong, there are a ton of quality tonic waters on the market. But if you’d like a little, scratch that, a lot more bang for your buck, then homemade is the way to go. I found all my supplies at the local herbal remedy shop. It was fun learning about all the more unusual ingredients that go into making this historical (and medicinal) beverage.

Gin and Tonic with Homemade Quinine Syrup | HonestlyYUM

How to Make Tonic Water at Home | HonestlyYUM

Cinchona Bark | HonestlyYUM

Ground Cinchona Bark | HonestlyYUM

Quinine Tincture | HonestlyYUM

How to Make Tonic Water at Home | HonestlyYUM

How to Make Tonic Water at Home | HonestlyYUM

Gin and Tonic with Homemade Quinine Syrup | HonestlyYUM

Gin and Tonic with Homemade Quinine Syrup | HonestlyYUM

Gin and Tonic with Homemade Quinine Syrup | HonestlyYUM

Gin and Tonic with Homemade Quinine Syrup | HonestlyYUM



 For the cocktail

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz quinine syrup
  • 1 1/2 oz soda water
  • lime wedge for garnish

 For the Quinine Tincture

  • 6 g powdered cinchona bark
  • 150 ml vodka

 For the Aromatics

  • 10 g whole gentian root
  • 2 g Ceylon cinnamon stick
  • 30 g lemon peel
  • 30 g grapefruit peel
  • 20 g citric acid
  • 400 g sugar
  • 500 ml water


 For the Quinine Tincture

  • Mix the powdered cinchona bark into the vodka, and stir until dissolved.
  • Strain the mixture through a coffee-filter-lined strainer. This may take up to an hour.

 For the Aromatics

  • Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Strain the mixture and let cool.

 For the Quinine Syrup

  • Add 1 1/2 oz of the quinine tincture into the aromatics. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

 For the cocktail

  • Add all the ingredients to an old fashioned glass, fill with ice, garnish with a wedge of lime and serve!

(images by HonestlyYUM; recipe by Jeffrey Morgenthaler from The Bar Book)


Todd I love all your cocktails!!! and G&Ts are my fave-I’ve been wanting to make my own quinine syrup for a while. BTW, how do you measure grams? Do I need a kitchen scale? Soooo looking forward to making this!!
Thanks! P

I don’t have any kid, but I am all for this G&T. Love G&T to begin with, but I have a feeling I will love yours more 🙂
P.S. I am going to make this for my sis when I go back to see my, then, one-year-old nephew in Thailand 🙂
Thank you, Todd. 🙂

we tried this last year and our GTs were definitely Amber colored. How did you go from Amber tonic to a rather clear cocktail? Thx

For the cocktail, there’s only 1/2 an oz of quinine syrup (a little goes a long way) compared to 2 oz of gin and 1 1/2 oz soda water (plus any dilution from the ice) so the color really doesn’t come through much.

I’m not going to make my own tonic water but glad you did because your photos of the process are very cool.

Wow, your shadowy photos are seriously SO AMAZING. I’m a little in awe (the sun hates me) so I thought you should know! Beautiful! (And who doesn’t love g&t?!)

Jess!!!! Thank you!! I love experimenting with light and shadows. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Gin and tonics my fave. Had one last night, in fact 😉

Oh my goodness- the sleep deprivation is harsh, isn’t it? And how is she almost ONE already?!?!? Love that you made your own tonic water because now I can try it too! I may have to try this with my mom while I’m in MN…

Thanks Rachael! I have no idea how you manage two little ones. ULTIMATE respect…

Yum yum yum. When I’m out at a bar, gin and tonics are my go to drink. They’re simple and sophisticated and don’t taste half bad. Love this recipe.

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– Stephanie

My goodness, this drink looks so refreshing, even at 6am. I’m more of an amber liquor guy (bourbon, rye, etc) but homemade quinine? Are you kidding me?! It sounds incredible! If I get adventurous over the weekend, maybe I’ll dabble. In the meantime, even though your wee-one is going full-on Tasmanian Devil on you, she will soon be a teenager and all she’ll *WANT* to do is sleep. Getting her up for school will be a challenge so these days of hyper-activity will seem but a faint and distant memory. And remember, the reason God invented Peets or Philz was primarily for new parents. Coffee *IS* your friend! (C)

Oh man, I hear on the whole sleep thing and I don’t even have a 1 year old. Hoping you get a good day of rest in soon! If not, this drink looks pretty fun to sip on nightly…

Thanks Tieghan!! Months later, and sleep is still hard to come by. Meanwhile, I’ve certainly managed my share of gin & tonics 😉

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