Recipe Finder

The Washington Post

Homemade Tonic Water

Homemade Tonic Water 25.000
Aug 22, 2007

This tonic is an alternative to sickly-sweet standards such as Canada Dry and Schweppes. Don't be alarmed: The syrup created here will be brown. Todd Thrasher suggests using sodium-free sparkling water.

For a gin and tonic, combine 5 ounces of tonic water with 1 1/2 ounces of gin in a highball glass filled with ice; garnish with a lime wedge.

Quinine powder, a bitter substance made from the bark of the cinchona tree, can be obtained from several online sources, including and

Citric acid, a powder commonly used for canning, can be ordered online from or

La Cuisine in Alexandria says it can special-order both ingredients; call 703-836-4435.

Servings: 25 ounces tonic water and additional tonic syrup
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 stalks lemon grass, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon quinine powder
  • 1 teaspoon citric acid
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 20 ounces sparkling water, chilled

Related Recipes


In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the 3 cups of water to a boil. Add the lemon grass, sugar, quinine powder, citric acid and lime juice and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium or medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the mixture is syrupy and has reduced by half. Strain the syrup twice -- first through a fine-mesh strainer and then through a coffee filter (it will strain very slowly through the filter) -- and refrigerate, covered, for at least two hours. Measure out 5 ounces of the cold syrup and add to the sparkling water. (Reserve the remainder of the syrup for a second batch, if desired.) Transfer to a soda siphon and dispense with a CO2 charger. If you do not have a siphon and charger, do not combine the syrup and water until immediately before use.

Rate it

Recipe Source

From Todd Thrasher of Restaurant Eve in Alexandria.

Tested by Michael Taylor.

E-mail questions to the Food Section.

E-mail questions to the Food Section at

Avg. Rating (1)

Rate this recipe

Nutritional Facts

Calories per 5-ounce serving: 52

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 0g 0%

Saturated Fat: 0g 0%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 18mg 1%

Total Carbohydrates: 13g 4%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: n/a

Protein: 0g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

Most Read lifestyle
Show Comments