Drink, Features

The story behind our house-made tonic

Soho House bar teams in Europe and the US have remade a classic mixer, soon to be trialled in our sites. Writer Elva Ramirez takes a sip of Soho House’s very own tonic water

In the past two years, the classic gin and tonic has emerged as Soho House’s top mixed drink. And with a drink that comprises just two ingredients, it’s worth taking note of how a well-crafted tonic can enhance the base spirit.

Different tonics will play up alternate notes in gins, and can make the same spirit taste drier, or more floral, or even sweet. “If your drink is three-quarters tonic water, it makes a big difference, to the taste,” says global bars manager Tom Kerr.

That has led Soho House bar managers in Europe and in the US to design their own tonics, working together to get just the right flavour balance. In addition to quinine, which every tonic water has, Soho House’s European recipe uses bergamot, yuzu, elderflower, eucalyptus and ginger. The US tonic highlights lemongrass, gentian root, angelica, and grapefruit, among other botanicals.

It’s not just about flavour, of course. “Carbonation is super important,” Tom says. “We plan to have the bubbles rushing through this tonic. Carbonation carries flavour so it’s important to have just right.”

Which gins match best with these new tonics? Kerr suggest trying Bombay Sapphire or Oxley gin
in Europe, and opting for Bombay Dry or Star of Bombay with the US mixer. The new Soho House tonics will be bottled in the next few months, and are expected to debut at Soho Beach House in Miami, as well as Shoreditch House and Soho House 76 Dean Street in London.

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