Sunday, September 18, 2011

Not Your Typical Tonic

We are ladies of the G&T - perhaps a leftover from our days spent in England.  It's one of our staple cocktails, always classy always refreshing.  But more often than not, after a few we feel more of the syrupy quinine than the gin, which is a damn shame if you ask us.




We were recently invited to try head bartender Linden Price's new libations at Madame Geneva - a refreshing new take on the G&T, made with homemade tonics.  Yes, that's what we said.  Homemade tonics.  [swoon]  For those of you who are not familiar with Madame Geneva, it is a handsome side bar of the restaurant Double Crown, soon to be Saxton and Parole - a gem of a bar that is sexy and sophisticated at the same time.  A perfect place to settle in over a proper cocktail!

Mr Price pairs Gins with homemade tonics, each one carefully developed to compliment the flavors in each distinct gin.  We had the Plymouth Gin cocktail with a lemongrass and lemon tonic that was light, refreshing, and yet had the bite we were yearning for after a long day.  It is clear that this is a very special creation - not the typical two ingredient stuff that comes out of a gun or a can.  These tonics take weeks to make, a tedious process, but one that yields a product that is natural and more healthy than its sugary counterpart.



It got us thinking - how difficult could it be to make our own tonics?  We did some searching around the internets, and found this recipe from Imbibe Magazine:

Homemade Tonic

4 cups water
3 cups pure cane sugar
3 Tbsp. quinine (powdered cinchona bark; available in some herb stores or online)
6 Tbsp. powdered citric acid (found in the bulk section of most well-stocked grocery stores)
3 limes, zested and juiced
3 stalks lemongrass, roughly chopped


In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil until the sugar dissolves, then turn the heat down to low.  Add the quinine, citric acid, lemongrass, lime zest and lime juice. Stir well and simmer for about 25 minutes, until the powders are dissolved and the syrup is thin and runny. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain out the large chunks through a colander, then filter through cheesecloth or coffee filters to refine. This step can take a while—and many filters—as the bark is a very fine powder, so be patient. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain out the large chunks through a colander, then filter through cheesecloth or coffee filters to refine. This step can take a while—and many filters—as the bark is a very fine powder, so be patient.  Funnel the syrup into sterilized glass bottles, cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to several weeks.


British Troops taking their daily Quinine - as will you


Before you dash off to make your own making your house Tonic - here are a few tips from Mr Price himself:


“The key to making your own tonic is to get your hands on good quality, full flavored quinine. Generally speaking good health food stores and naturopaths stock quinine and personally I prefer when it comes in the liquid form.”


“Beware to start small with the quinine - it is a big full flavor, and very bitter.  The more you put in, the less subtle your other flavors will be.  However, you rely in that edge to make the tonic water what it is!”


“Then essentially it is about you creating the flavor profile you like.  Personally I love the aromatics of lemongrass, grapefruit zest, lemon peel, orange blossom, rose, cucumber, mint.  But you can really take this in any direction.  Especially with fresh herbs.”

All this aromatic talk has us lusting for one of his creations as we type!


Side note: we're super excited for the opening of Saxton and Parole - the new AvroKo restaurant on the Bowery.  Those graphics are not messing around.





Craving a G&T?  So are we.

Madame Geneva
4 Bleeker Street
New York, NY 10012
212-254-0350

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