Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Looking for refreshment, but the usual soft drinks are not to your taste? Then tonic water is certainly a good and somewhat different option for you that you should definitely try out. It can be drunk pure or specially mixed - the possibilities with tonic water know almost no bounds.

For this reason, we would like to introduce you to this exotic drink in this guide and tell you some important aspects about it. We will also introduce you to the most popular tonic products and help you to slowly get to grips with your new favourite drink. And let us tell you one thing: This drink will surprise and convince you in many ways.




Summary

  • Tonic water is a carbonated soft drink that has a rather bitter taste due to its chinese content and therefore offers a successful change from the usual non-alcoholic drinks. Tonic water is often mixed with gin to make the popular Gin Tonic cocktail.
  • Many different manufacturers and brands offer a wide range of tonics, which are available in cans as well as in glass or plastic bottles at supermarkets but also in specialist shops. One thing is true: not all tonic is the same, because there are different nuances in taste.
  • While tonic water is said to have some health-promoting properties, pregnant women and small children in particular should refrain from drinking it. As a general rule, the amount of tonic water consumed should be a healthy balance and not excessive.

The best tonic: Our Picks

Here we have listed very popular tonic water products and compared them with each other for you, so that it is easier for you to get an initial overview of the variety and perhaps end up deciding on one of these options on a trial basis.

Buying and evaluation criteria for tonic water

Based on the following criteria, we want to make it easier for you to decide which tonic water is most suitable for your purposes and concerns.

In the following section, we will go into more detail on each of the listed criteria.

Portion size and type

A decisive aspect in your selection is the portion size, but also the type of container in which the tonic water can be purchased. This often depends on the brand and the manufacturer, who then sells its products in containers that are typical for it. From plastic bottles to glass bottles to cans, there is a lot here.

Regarding the portion size and the amount of content, you should always consider for what purpose and under what circumstances you want to consume tonic water. For example, if you want to try it first, you should use a small can. However, if you already know that you will need a lot and you want to mix cocktails for several people with tonic water, you can get large bottles.

There are also big differences in quality. It depends on how much you and your guests value it and how much money you want to spend on your tonic.

Nutritional information

A frequent criterion with regard to food or drinks is the nutritional information and, more precisely, the number of calories per 100 millilitres or the sugar content.

In fact, however, the sparkling soft drink consists largely of sugar, which varies only slightly between the different manufacturers.

Ingredients

First of all, we would like to dispel a myth at this point: tonic water is completely alcohol-free. It is only in combination with spirits such as gin that tonic becomes an alcoholic cocktail. Since the gin and tonic is widespread and certainly better known than tonic water on its own, many people immediately associate tonic with alcohol.

One of the main ingredients of tonic is quinine. This is a naturally occurring chemical compound of the quinoline alkaloids, which gives the drink its typical bitter taste. In addition, this flavouring substance ensures that tonic glows when it is illuminated by UV light.

Although, on the whole, quinine is safe to consume, there is a guideline limit these days. According to this, tonic water must not contain more than 85 mg/l of quinine.

Portion size

As with the portion size, the number of pieces also depends on what exactly you need the tonic for and how much of it you need. If you are buying a large quantity, it is a good idea to buy not only large bottles, but also a pack with several bottles or cans of tonic.

Depending on which brand and which product you choose, there are also different quantities and numbers that you can buy.

Just think carefully in advance about the occasion for which you need the tonic and what is particularly suitable. Often, the quantity discount applies to larger orders.

Use

Another aspect you should consider when deciding on a tonic product is the question of what exactly you will use the tonic for. If you want to drink it, then a milder product that does not taste quite as bitter is probably suitable.

If you want to mix the tonic water into a cocktail or something similar anyway, it makes sense to pay attention to which alcohol is associated with the tonic water. Some spirits are particularly suitable for a particular tonic product. You should pay attention to any recommendations of the different manufacturers or listen to established tips and advice.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about tonic answered in detail

Of course, some questions arise in relation to this topic, because tonic water is not as well known as other typical soft drinks. For this reason, we would like to answer some frequently asked questions at this point. Maybe we can already answer one or two of your questions.

What is tonic water?

Tonic water is a refreshing drink containing quinine, which has been carbonated and is therefore very tingling. It can be drunk neat, but is much more popular as a mixed drink with alcoholic substances such as gin or vodka. The bitter taste of the aromatic substance quinine gives it a special distress, which is why tonic water is also known as bitter lemonade.

The main ingredient of tonic water is quinine. This is found in the bark of the cinchona tree and has a positive effect on health. (Image source: Picography / Pixabay)

But tonic water is not only a real hit as a drink, because it can also be used medicinally. Many years ago, tonic water was already recommended as a malaria prophylaxis. However, at that time the quinine content was even higher than today. Quinine is found in the bark of the cinchona tree and is generally considered to reduce fever.

What types of tonic are there?

In the early years, only one manufacturer was known for its tonic water and there was therefore mainly one brand, but today the range of manufacturers and brands is very diverse. As the long drink gin and tonic has become increasingly popular and numerous gin distilleries have sprung up, more and more companies have dedicated themselves to the production of tonic water.

There are also some differences in taste between the various types. Depending on the Chinese content, tonic water can be somewhat milder or very bitter. There are also some special flavours. Tonic water can therefore basically be divided into four flavours: neutral/classic, dry/light, spicy/tart and fruity/floral.

What is the advantage of tonic?

Tonic as a drink not only tastes good, but also brings a varied refreshment. This is particularly suitable for those who are getting tired of the usual soft drinks and want to try something different. In addition, the possibilities with tonic water are very diverse, because you can drink it straight, but also mix it with different types of alcohol to make a delicious cocktail on ice. The varieties within tonic water also vary in taste.

In addition, the quinine in tonic water can have health-promoting aspects. In manageable quantities, quinine has often been used as a medicine in the form of fever reducer, painkiller or muscle relaxant. It can also help prophylactically against malaria. Especially the popular cocktail gin and tonic is known for its healthy effect. Both the fact that this long drink is very low in calories, unlike many other sweet mixed drinks, and the fact that the natural ingredients and herbs contained in gin stimulate our organs and cardiovascular system contribute to its health-promoting effect.

By the way, tonic water has a special effect to offer that can certainly be a real hit at any party: Because of the quinine in tonic water, it glows when you bring it close to UV rays.

Who should rather not drink tonic?

Although the previous question suggested that consuming tonic water can be harmless or even beneficial to your health, you should be very careful about the amount of tonic you consume. Excessive consumption of tonic water can cause nausea or even visual disturbances.

Pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding should refrain from drinking tonic water completely, as the unborn child or infant can become dependent on quinine and consequently develop withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, the consumption of tonic water is also generally not recommended for younger children.

Another group that should avoid tonic water consists of people who struggle with tinnitus, as tonic water can aggravate the symptoms and contribute to the condition lasting longer.

How do you mix a drink with tonic?

Depending on the flavour and brand of tonic water, you should pay attention to which alcohol goes best with it. Manufacturers often give recommendations when you buy the tonic water. The correct and desired mixing ratio is also important in the next step and, of course, suitable extras such as fruit, sugar or other flavourings that make up the taste of the specific cocktail. All that's missing now is the right cocktail glass.

Typical cocktails with tonic water are gin tonic, vodka tonic or even tequila tonic.

Conclusion

We hope that we were able to provide you with some new information about tonic water in this guide and maybe even convince you to try out one or two tonic waters or even order a gin and tonic at your next party or bar. With knowledge about the ingredients, manufacturers, different brands and the effect of quinine, you can now definitely shine.

You don't have to worry too much about your health, because the normal consumption and enjoyment of tonic water is harmless and can even have a beneficial effect on your body and your health in some aspects. Just make sure that you don't overdo it: one or two glasses every now and then definitely won't do any harm, but in the long run you shouldn't overdo it either.

(Cover photo: Vlad Tchompalov / unsplash)

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