Summer time on the Rock can be a hot, sweltering, muggy affair. Even when you’re neck deep in the lukewarm bathwater like ocean, the lack of breeze can make your forehead feel like it’s roasting in the desert sun. Yeah, summer can suck down here.
My favorite way to beat back the heat down here is with that tried and true elixir the Gin & Tonic. I’ve found though, over the years that knocking back a half dozen (what, it’s hot down here!) of these in a hot afternoon leads me to feel all jittery and hopped up, like a kid with ADHD that sells his Ritilin to kids at school rather than taking it himself (Yeah mom, that’s how I got that CD player in high school).
What’s to blame for this? Surely not the alcohol in the Gin, why that would be too easy of a target, besides if I ever accepted that Alcohol can be bad for me then I’d have to shut down this blog and start another one about my other true passion in life.
Seeing a Unicorn and Narwal fight to the death in front of a Volcano…
So, bearing in mind the colosol consequenses of established science (ie: Alcohol, when taken in excess can lead to Liver function failure & possibly singing Sade songs at Kareoke) we’ll focus on our mixer instead.
Okay, so let’s look at what’s in your typical tonic water.
Carbs 32.2g (11% dri)
Wow, so think of that 32g like 32 sugar packets. Let’s assume you put 4oz of Tonic on top of your judicious amount of Gin, that means you’re adding around TEN sugar packets to your drink! Would you ever do that to say, sweeten your Vodka & Soda? I didn’t think so.
Don’t worry, it gets worse.
The “sugar” that is used in common tonic water is in fact High Fructose Corn Syrup, which despite clever advertising downplaying its role in childhood obesity and the early onset of diabetes in Americans, still has been shown to be processed by our bodies differently than typical sugar sources. In other words, instead of converting sugar to energy we’re just getting fat. Word.
Well then. Let’s make our own tonic and bypass all that unhealthy nonsense. Seriously, we know alcohol is a little rough on us in the first place, why not make a little effort to reduce the harm? Plus, whipping out you own bottle of house made tonic will make you kind of a big deal.
1 cup demerara sugar
2 cups H2O
2 limes, zested & juiced
1 lemon, zested & juiced
2 tblsp Cinchona powder (Quinine is derived from Cinchona, get some at TenzingMomo.com)
1 tspn fresh grated cinnamon
Combine H2O & sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.
Next, add the rest of the ingredients and stir occasionally. Let mix simmer for about 20 minutes on low heat.
Remove from heat and let cool.
When your mix is cooled down, strain it through a chinois & cheesecloth or even a coffee filter. You really want to get out all the solid bits from the liquid as they can continue to make your syrup bitter.
Throw it in a bottle and add a half ounce of Gin to help preserve it. Keep it in the fridge.
There you go, you now have a good Organic Quinine Syrup, making hippies all over the world immediately jealous of you.
Sweet, now let’s make a drink with it.
Combine over Ice.
2oz New Amsterdam Gin
1/2oz Quinine syrup
1/2oz Fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
top with soda
It’s a refreshing drink with all the best tendencies of a G&T, but with an edge. The Luxardo adds a neat sweetness while the Quinine syrup provides that devilish bitterness that cuts through the heat of summer like a giant ice cube dropped in the ocean.