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Old 14-03-2015, 07:00   #301
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Re: Tonic syrup (trials 2 & 3)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
WOW! What a difference between soaking the cinchona in cold water and boiling it. Not subtle at all!

I soaked one lot of bark in cold water for 64 hours, then deciding it had had enough time soaking, I boiled up a second batch for 30 minutes (using an extra cup of water, as I knew a fair bit would be lost to evaporation).

Firstly, the appearance was very different. The one soaking for almost 3 days had become murkier with each shake and the colour was orangy-brown with just a tinge of red. The boiled lot was crystal clear with a brighter reddish colour.

The difference in smell could instantly be identified before the taste test. Miles nicer for the boiled lot. There was also a dramatic difference in taste between the two. The underlying bitterness was about the same, but the rest of the flavours were rounder and richer when boiling. And the flavour was "right" (ie what my taste buds expected in tonic, the other was quite unpleasant in comparison). You really need to try this to appreciate it.

Boiling wins hands down!
I processed the rest of the ingredients optimally for each, as mentioned in my previous post. This worked well and was not onerous.

The recipe may need a bit of playing with still (I'll experiment to see how much boiling is ideal), but the result is good as is. I will wait now until I have used up this lot before making any more. I think at this stage the ideal method and exact quantities are up to individual tastes, so just experiment and see what suits you. Lots of botanicals used in gin could probably successfully be added in small quantities to add a subtle complexity to the mix.

I also think if you don't want to fuss with sourcing and storing a lot of ingredients, simply cinchona, lime and/or lemon rind, citric acid and sugar syrup would make a perfectly acceptable mix if the technique outlined below is used. This would roughly reproduce the original ingredients used by British officers in India to make quinine palatable and I think would still give a vastly better drink compared to sugary bought tonic that doesn't have any depth to it anyway.

In the quest for a perfect tonic, I have now deviated significantly from the technique used by half dozen other recipes found online. Here is the method I used :

TONIC SYRUP (trial 3 - best by far)

5 cups water
cup cut cinchona bark
3 whole cardamom pods, split open and seeds scraped out
4 whole allspice berries, bashed with a hammer
1 teaspoon dried lemongrass
teaspoon dried lavender flowers
cup citric acid
teaspoon salt
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
Finely grated rind of 1 lime

Sugar Syrup
cup ordinary white sugar
cup boiling water
(you may need more, as most recipes called for at least 2 cups of sugar)

cup gin (to increase the keeping quality)

- Bring the water and cinchona to boil, simmer 30 minutes
- Meanwhile mix the sugar and boiling water together and put aside to dissolve and cool
- When the cinchona is nearly done, throw in the cardamom pods & seeds plus allspice and continue simmering a few minutes
- Take off heat, cool a few minutes, add lemongrass and lavender and leave 10-15 minutes (definitely no longer).
- Strain using a sieve then a tea strainer
- Add the citric acid and salt and stir to dissolve
- When lukewarm, add the finely grated lime and lemon rind
- Let sit half an hour or so, strain with a tea strainer, give it a few minutes for any sediment to sink to the bottom so that it doesn't clog the paper filter early, then filter using a coffee filter and funnel
- Add sugar syrup to taste (I used not quite all the sugar)
- Add half a cup of gin (optional) and bottle.

Dockhead, thanks not only for the bark, but for initially posting the idea of making tonic syrup.

Cheers all .
SWL
Now that you've done the testing ;-) I've made a batch this morning using the above recipe with a couple of minor changes.

I didn't have whole allspice or lemongrass so substituted just under half a teaspoon of ground each. I figured that any more would alter the taste too much as they would not be filtered out and I used an extra half cup of sugar syrup. Limes are hard to come by here in Egypt so I used a standard lemon and what the locals call an 'Italian lemon'. I also filtered through coffee filters twice just in case there were any signs of the ground spices.

I'm amazed at how good it is!

Can't wait for sundowners so that I can try it with gin this evening!

Thanks for doing the work SWL
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Old 14-03-2015, 07:36   #302
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Re: Gin Tankage?

Make your own gin and tonic | Life and style | The Guardian

So now we've sussed the tonic shall we have a go at the gin?
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Old 14-03-2015, 07:49   #303
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Re: Tonic syrup (trials 2 & 3)

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Can't wait to try it out. How would you compare it with store-bought tonic?
Chalk and cheese .
Dramatically better. Sinfully so really, I rarely have two G&T's because of the sweetness and this will lead me to temptation .

Quote:
Originally Posted by NornaBiron View Post
Now that you've done the testing ;-) I've made a batch this morning using the above recipe with a couple of minor changes.

I didn't have whole allspice or lemongrass so substituted just under half a teaspoon of ground each. I figured that any more would alter the taste too much as they would not be filtered out and I used an extra half cup of sugar syrup. Limes are hard to come by here in Egypt so I used a standard lemon and what the locals call an 'Italian lemon'. I also filtered through coffee filters twice just in case there were any signs of the ground spices.

I'm amazed at how good it is!

Can't wait for sundowners so that I can try it with gin this evening!

Thanks for doing the work SWL
I think all the aromatics are incidental. And either lemon or lime should work just fine . I doubt substituting half a teaspoon of the powdered lemongrass and allspice and omitting the lavender will have made much difference. I am going to try adding a bit of lemon verbena next time. That is readily available here and is one of the botanicals used in making gin.

It is a fantastic mix isn't it? I have had a bit during the day straight up to double check it is good and it is quite addictive .

My early sundowner tonight:
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Old 14-03-2015, 08:22   #304
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Re: Tonic syrup (trials 2 & 3)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
Chalk and cheese .
Dramatically better. Sinfully so really, I rarely have two G&T's because of the sweetness and this will lead me to temptation .



I think all the aromatics are incidental. And either lemon or lime should work just fine . I doubt substituting half a teaspoon of the powdered lemongrass and allspice and omitting the lavender will have made much difference. I am going to try adding a bit of lemon verbena next time. That is readily available here and is one of the botanicals used in making gin.

It is a fantastic mix isn't it? I have had a bit during the day straight up to double check it is good and it is quite addictive .

My early sundowner tonight:
I found some lavender so that went in :-)

I've tested what I thought was a small amount as I was adding the sugar syrup, it was obviously more than I thought though as I have palpitations now (quinine does that to me), I'll have to wait a couple of hours before the true test!

Are you keeping the syrup refrigerated?
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Old 14-03-2015, 08:57   #305
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Re: Tonic syrup (trials 2 & 3)

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Originally Posted by NornaBiron View Post
I've tested what I thought was a small amount as I was adding the sugar syrup, it was obviously more than I thought though as I have palpitations now (quinine does that to me), I'll have to wait a couple of hours before the true test!
I would have thought the quinine had been mainly extracted. One of the sources in the UK would not sell without a prescription and I presume it was because that particular bark provided a therapeutic dose. If the quinine has not been extracted then consumption should be watched - effects from quinine toxicity are a possibility (eg cardiac, renal, blood glucose and ocular side effects).

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Are you keeping the syrup refrigerated?
No, with a mix that has not been stewing and has the preservatives of citric acid and alcohol added I am fairly confident storage at room temperature will be fine. I will monitor it carefully for any change in appearance or taste .

For those that are curious, this is how the liquid looks currently:
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Old 14-03-2015, 09:12   #306
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Talking Re: Tonic syrup (trials 2 & 3)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
I would have thought the quinine had been mainly extracted. One of the sources in the UK would not sell without a prescription and I presume it was because that particular bark provided a therapeutic dose. If the quinine has not been extracted then consumption should be watched - effects from quinine toxicity are a possibility (eg cardiac, renal, blood glucose and ocular side effects).



No, with a mix that has not been stewing and has the preservatives of citric acid and alcohol added I am fairly confident storage at room temperature will be fine. I will monitor it carefully for any change in appearance or taste .

For those that are curious, this is how the liquid looks currently:
Ooohhhh, yours is in a pretty bottle. Until we finish a bottle of something, this is mine!
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Old 14-03-2015, 09:26   #307
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Re: Tonic syrup (trials 2 & 3)

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Ooohhhh, yours is in a pretty bottle. Until we finish a bottle of something, this is mine!
You had better hurry up and finish that bottle of Jack Daniels your recent guests brought and then you will have a bottle like mine to put it in

SWL x
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Old 14-03-2015, 09:44   #308
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Re: Tonic syrup (trials 2 & 3)

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You had better hurry up and finish that bottle of Jack Daniels your recent guests brought and then you will have a bottle like mine to put it in

SWL x
ANDY!
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Old 14-03-2015, 10:00   #309
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Re: Gin Tankage?

The true taste test:

Certainly not as sweet as commercial stuff! in fact, I didn't realise how sweet Schweppes was until I tried this!

Yep, this is gooooooood!
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Old 14-03-2015, 10:59   #310
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Re: Gin Tankage?

Unfortunately, despite the tonic syrup being excellent, I can't drink it :-(
After only half of a small G&T I have palpitations, blurred vision and dizziness - classic quinine toxicity signs! I must be very sensitive to quinine :sad:
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Old 14-03-2015, 13:33   #311
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Re: Gin Tankage?

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Unfortunately, despite the tonic syrup being excellent, I can't drink it :-(
After only half of a small G&T I have palpitations, blurred vision and dizziness - classic quinine toxicity signs! I must be very sensitive to quinine :sad:
Logged on to find this .
I have been hunting online and can find nothing at all reported specifically regarding problems with commercial bark. It is sold primarily to be used to make tea. Don't products like this come under FDA scrutiny?
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Old 14-03-2015, 13:51   #312
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Re: Gin Tankage?

Potential Dangers of Homemade Tonic Water - Alcademics.com

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
Logged on to find this .
I have been hunting online and can find nothing at all reported specifically regarding problems with commercial bark. It is sold primarily to be used to make tea. Don't products like this come under FDA scrutiny?
I use to be the same with Schweppes tonic, more than one G&T would have me feeling so ill, but I seemed to grow out of it. I only used 1 tbsp of the syrup with my gin and topped it up with soda and I only drank half of it before I noticed the effects. Feeling better now, I'll stick to commercially prepared tonics I think!
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Old 14-03-2015, 13:52   #313
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Re: Gin Tankage?

NB, what brand of cinchona did you buy from Amazon UK?

I found it odd that after a simple question from me, Joanna's Garden instantly disappeared from Amazon.
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Old 14-03-2015, 13:58   #314
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Re: Gin Tankage?

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Thanks for the link. I wonder if your reaction is allergic rather than toxic given it occurred after such a tiny dose?
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Old 14-03-2015, 14:06   #315
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Re: Gin Tankage?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B...ilpage_o05_s00

This was the one I bought.

Yep, it might be an allergy I suppose.
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