Our lives are changing daily, our habits not yet formed to the "new normal." But despite the headlines of illness and hurt around the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we're beginning to see glimmers of hope and restoration, specifically from the family of medicines we already have in trade. Many of these medicines have a botanical origin and that was very apparent in 2020 when tonic water had a moment: a viral video stating that tonic water can be used as a means to help off-set the risk of Covid-19 set off a buying frenzy. Unfortunately this turned out to be an unfounded claim, but we were happy to have made new and lasting customers because of it!
All of this boom or bust has given us pause and the last year has provided us the opportunity for reflection. Tonic was one of the earliest "medicines" incorporated into an alcoholic drink, its history tracing back to the tinctures issued to British soldiers back in WWI. These tinctures contained natural quinine and served as a means to protect them from the effects of malaria. To tone down the bitter taste, soldiers mixed the quinine tinctures with gin. Americans came to love tonic water during WWII, and those once stationed in England brought back that thirst to the States. The tonic water of the 1950's and '60s came to be known as an infamously bitter drink, but because of the heavy level of sweeteners, consumers came to enjoy it best with vodka and - you guessed it - gin.
Since then, the industry has continued to evolve and innovate, placing a newfound importance on the tonic as an equally important component in the success of the Gin & Tonic, Vodka Tonic, and other simple highballs, mixed drinks and spirit-free cocktails.
Top Note founders Mary Pellettieri and Noah Swanson appreciate the botanical past of this fascinating beverage and the respect for flavor and balance held by their discerning customers. Top Note Classic Tonic Water is 100% bittered with natural quinine, showcasing the bitter lime notes of the botanical and making for a deliciously refreshing stand-alone beverage with a splash of lime or lemon as well as a fabulous mixer with gin and vodka.
Further reading on tonic water and tonic-based drink recipes:
- Just The Tonic: A Natural History of Tonic Water, by Kim Walker
- Something & Tonic, by Nick Koknonas
- What Makes a Great Tonic Water and Why it Matters, by Jeanette Hurt for Alcohol Professor
- Take Your G&T To The Next Level, original recipes by Top Note Tonic and friends
- FAQ: Top Note Classic Tonic Water, by Top Note Tonic
And remember: consult your doctor before trying any internet cure-alls and please continue to drink tonic for its flavor! A bit of botanical history makes for a healthy companion with a Top Note G&T in hand.