In the case that you love a G&T but are unaware of where that unique flavour comes from, it's Quinine. In most common grocery store brands an artificial flavouring is used. Natural quinine comes from Cinchona Bark, which can be found at Herbalists and natural stores everywhere. It's also what gives tonic its bitterness. The zip and tartness come from the use of citric acid, which can be found at bulk food stores, and works as a natural preservative.
*The drink hasn't been stirred to show the contrast in colour. I also used a gin that happens to be yellow adding to the effect.
If you want to try it at home, it's much easier than you might think. You just need a little time to shop and some patience. It's totally worth the effort, plus you get to customize it to your taste.
This will serve as a base formula that you can play with. Try adding more lime or less citric acid. Go crazy and add some lemongrass... If you're unsure what flavours you favor, try buying some high end tonics like Fever-Tree or Q Tonic, when there isn't any HFCS you can really taste the quinine and the other more subtle flavours.
*Nerd Alert* The sun has returned and while I encourage you to try this, I also encourage you to save making it for a rainy day and serve it to friends on a sunny one...
Tonic Syrup 12 C sugar
1 C water
2 limes (juice & zest)
2 lemons (juice & zest)
2 tbsp cinchona bark
2 tsp citric acid
pinch cracked black pepper
Peel then juice citrus, set aside. In a heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat, add sugar and water, bring to the boil, reduce to low heat, add remaining ingredients, stir gently. Simmer 20 mins, remove from heat, let stand, cool to room temp. Strain syrup through cheesecloth or coffee filter over a fine mesh strainer.
Refrigerate in an air tight glass container for up to 3 weeks.
Gin and Tonic 12 oz gin
1 oz tonic syrup
1/4 oz fresh lime juice
3 oz soda water
In the bottom of an empty highball glass add gin, syrup and lime, stir to combine. Fill glass with ice top with soda, gently stir to combine being careful not to flatten the bubbles. If you are a millionaire you may proceed with a lime garnish as well but it's going to be a tough call, limes are going to be very expensive this year.