3 Unique Ways to Use Tonic Water This Fall

Top Note Classic Tonic was named Best Craft Tonic water by liquor.com this past September! To celebrate, we are sharing up our favorite unique ways to use tonic water. In this article, we are going to dive into the world of tonic water. We’ll even throw in a few unique ways to use this bubbly drink in unconventional ways. 

Everyone loves the classic high-ball cocktail that is the gin and tonic. It’s simple, easy to drink, and has a slight bitterness that’s satisfyingly refreshing. But what exactly gives tonic water it its unique flavor? And what are some OTHER ways to use tonic water to discover? If you’re wondering this, you have come to the right place! 

What Is Tonic Water?

When you mix carbonated water with sugar and bitters, you get the base of tonic water. Originally, Quinine, an alkaloid, was extracted from the bark of the Cinchona tree and used as in beverage tonics. Quinine has a characteristic bitterness similar to a lime peel.  Also, some tonics were traditionally made with other botanical bitters, such as Gentian root. This bitter is what is found in many herbal liqueurs and is great for digestion. It has an earthy bitterness and floral slightly honeysuckle aroma.

As the name suggests, tonic water was originally used to “tone the body”, a generic term for a medicinal use. During British colonial rule in India, the Brits created a tonic from a quinine infused tincture and used the drink as an anti-malarial tonic. Legend says some British officers decided the tincture tasted much better with gin and a little sugar. 

The Gin and Tonic (G&T) was born. Tonic water with Quinine was commercialized and after WWII, the G&T became a popular drink in the US in private tennis and golf clubs. Now, tonic water is having its true renaissance, bubbling into a more recreational drink that is enjoyed both in cocktails and on its own. Tonics with more than one bitter are now found on the market and can be quite a joy to play with. 

Looking for new and innovative ways to make use of your favorite tonic water? Look no further. Here are three unique uses of tonic that you never knew before!

Create A Fluorescent Cocktail with Tonic Water

Thanks to the quinine, tonic glows a bright shade of blue when exposed to ultraviolet light. Imagine the surprised look on your guest’s faces when you serve up a luminescent refreshment. For your next Halloween party, turn a boring punch bowl into a smoking bubbly cauldron!

 Here’s what you’ll need:

1 four pack Top Note Classic Tonic Water

10 oz of Gin (London dry or savory American and barrel-aged gins work best)

1 large clear punch bowl 

Dry ice 

The juice of 1 lime 

Lime peel for garnish 

1 black light 

Right before your guests arrive, combine Top Note Classic Tonic Water, gin, and lime juice into a deep punch bowl. Gently place the dry ice into your cocktail mixture with tongs, being extra careful that the ice does not make contact with your skin. Strategically position the black light next to the bowl, and “ta-da” your guests will think you’ve turned into a magician. 

You can easily alter this recipe to make it kid-friendly by skipping the gin and mixing in lemonade (and maybe adding a handful of fake eyeballs). Since Top Note Classic Tonic Water is made with US grown and GMO-free pure cane sugar, you don’t have to worry about consuming any artificial or highly concentrated sweeteners. 

Another spooky idea is to pour Top Note Classic Tonic into a spherical ice tray and have glowing crystal balls of ice. 

But keep in mind that glow in the dark ice isn’t just for Halloween, they can be used at your next neon themed party, or even if you just want to have a bit of fun at your next movie night!

Espresso and Tonic

Beverage enthusiasts are gaga over this unusual pairing. Originally developed by a Barista from Berlin for a competition, this non-alcoholic bracer is a great pick me up. The extra gas that is expressed in espresso comes out as a creamy foam top when mixed with a sparkling beverage. Tonic, specifically one made with gentian root, can pair very nicely with the earthy tones in coffee. Top Note's Indian Tonic Water has a bit of a reputation building for the PERFECT compliment for this unusual drink. It tastes a bit like a chocolate covered orange - seriously!

1.5 oz espresso (preferably with berry , chocolate and earthy notes, not acid)

3 – 4 oz Top Note Indian Tonic Water


Pour espresso in a highball tumbler. Add ice. Carefully pour the Top Note Indian Tonic along the side of the glass for a foamy delight. Alternatively, the espresso can be added last as a “float”. Try it both ways and shoot a pic! 


Whiskey and Tonic

Whiskey is typically reserved for making a “sour” cocktail, but with the right tonic, a balance of bitter and sour can be achieved. The barrel flavors tend to come out in conjunction with the bitters in tonic as well. 

1.5 oz Whiskey of your choice (A barrel rich one works best)

4 oz Top Note Bitter Lemon Tonic

0.5 oz Sherry


Lemon Peel

Combine all ingredients except Sherry in a glass, give a gentle stir. Float sherry on top. Garnish with a lemon peel. The Top Note Bitter Lemon Tonic has warm spices notes that make this especially barrel-licious and inviting.

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