Adam Bernbach says the inspiration for this tonic came from his classic drink, the Darkside. For best results, use a soda siphon with this recipe. If you don't have a soda siphon, leave out the water, and then add sparkling water or seltzer when you're ready to make a drink.
The essential ingredient, quinine powder, is a bitter substance made from the bark of the cinchona tree. It is available at La Cuisine in Alexandria (703-836-4435) and can be ordered online from several purveyors including www.rain-tree.com and www.herbspro.com.
For a great gin and tonic: Combine 3 ounces of Vader Tonic with 1 1/2 ounces of Plymouth gin in a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lime wheel and preserved or maraschino cherry.
The Plymouth gin is more elegant and complex, and the subtle hints of pepper and juniper are a good match with the spices, bitter grapefruit, and earthy red wine elements of the Vader Tonic.
Make Ahead: The mixture can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
- 10 ounces Baking Spice Syrup (see related recipe)
- 4 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- 8 ounces Spanish red wine, preferably Monastrell
- 6 ounces water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons quinine powder (see headnote)
Combine the syrup, grapefruit juice, red wine, water and quinine powder in a large pitcher; stir well. Double strain and funnel into a soda siphon.
From Adam Bernbach, bar manager at Estadio in Dupont Circle.
Tested by Michael Taylor.
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