Dissatisfied with cocktails made with the modern excuse for tonic water, The Third Place Cocktail Co. decided to start from scratch and reassess what it would mean to revive the art of classic cocktails such as Gin and Tonic to the civility of its illustrious past. That journey led to the cinchona tree, the only natural source for quinine and the essence of real artisanal tonic water. If the tonic you are currently drinking has “quinine” as an ingredient instead of “cinchona bark” it probably means it is not naturally produced quinine, but don’t worry, there’s help to be found.
The Third Place Cocktail Co.’s Tonic represents the elemental flavour components of a truly world class tonic water, intended to accentuate the raw beauty and flavour of gin while adding the bitterness required in a truly civilized Gin and Tonic.
Every batch of Tonic is made by hand with the very best ingredients and botanicals available and each bottle is signed by hand to show not only that the company is truly a small batch operation, but that the founders stand by the quality and integrity of every bottle. There are rumours that some people who claim to enjoy vodka (let’s call them “pre-gin drinkers”) have gotten their hands on some of The Third Place Cocktail Co. Tonic. While this isn’t encouraged, it’s said The Third Place cocktail Co Tonic is so civilized it can make even vodka delicious.
Add 1 oz of The Third Place Cocktail Co., Tonic to 2 oz of your favorite Gin (we prefer a London Dry gin) and 2oz of fizzy water to a rocks glass filled with ice. Stir to combine.
Quinine (Cinchona Bark)
Native to Peru and Bolivia, and used medicinally for centuries by native South Americans, Quinine is derived from the bark of the Cinchona tree. British colonialists, stationed in India, can be credited with inventing the classic gin and tonic when they mixed spirits with their daily rations of Cinchona bark to fight malaria and lime to fight scurvy.
Quinine is the ingredient of most importance when making a balanced, bitter tonic and we source all natural, loose bark from Peru to make our tonic base or “bitter”. Although, Cinchona will add some sweetness and a nutty, vanilla fragrance, the primary flavor is palate drying, mouth puckering bitterness!
The addition of citrus to a good gin and tonic should be no surprise to the seasoned cocktail enthusiast, but if you’re just smashing a wedge of lime into a glass of cheap tonic here’s some bad news: You’re doing it wrong!
While citrus is often called in to add sourness to cocktails, the use of just the zest means more of the essential oils found in the skin of the fruit are extracted and a far greater depth of flavor is achieved. Those oils, when allowed to mature, become far more complex and impart sweetness, bitterness, and sourness in equal measure.
Like Cinchona bark, lemongrass has a long history of use as a medicinal ingredient. Indigenous Australians used lemongrass to treat skin irritations and wounds, and in parts of the Caribbean, native islanders used it to make “fever tea” for the treatment of stomach ailments and headaches.
Lemongrass further develops the refreshing profile of our tonic with notes of mint and ginger and you’re nose is sure to pick up its delicate, floral fragrance and fresh, grassy aroma.
Kaffir Lime Leaves
In addition to the zest of the world’s finest citrus, a broader citrus flavor is imparted with the use of Kaffir Lime leaves. There isn’t often a reason to get excited about leaves, but these are no ordinary botanical. Their sweet-smelling aroma and flavour is a blend of tropical fruits and delicate herbs: lime, orange, basil, and mint.
Think of cardamom as flavour glue – tying the lemons, limes and lemongrass together. However, by using the whole pod of this ancient spice to extract some bitterness, cardamom goes way beyond the citrus top notes and further elevates the tannic qualities of the final product.
Don’t be fooled by lavender’s light purple hue! Its floral fragrance can often be accentuated by a hearty pine aroma which pairs well with the woodland aromatics of your favorite brand of gin. Lavender lends a floral and slightly sweet flavor to our tonic and, like the other classic ingredients noted here, pays homage to tonic’s early, medicinal role.
There shouldn’t be any false expectations here – this isn’t a green tea tonic – but the use of this natural astringent and bitter ingredient to brings out the natural tannins the tonic. The Third Place Cocktail Co.’s tea supplier sources only the best Bi Lo Chun, or “tribute tea”, from mountain side, family owned farms near Shanghai. On its own, the tea has a smooth mouth feel and mellow, sweet taste with hints of grass and seaweed and you’ll find these notes come through in the tonic as well.