Homemade Gin and Tonic in the Alley (August 8)

A gin and tonic made with homemade tonic has an amber color.

Mike, Elizabeth’s neighbor and the originator of the local craze for homemade tonic, tinkered with his earlier recipe. He’d said that he wasn’t quite satisfied with the filtration of the Cinchona Bark particles, as well as a few other points. He’s a retired scientist, and absolutely the best person to be in charge of something like this! Attention to detail is important.

One of his various ideas for improvements was to borrow Elizabeth’s Aeropress, which she uses to make coffee. It’s a really speedy way to get a quality cup; it features a plunger which quickly and forcefully expresses the hot water through the coffee grounds and directly into the cup. Mike thought that expressing the water through the bark (as opposed to steeping), with the potential for improved speed and filtration, would generate a higher-quality tonic. He presented us with the results in another socially-distanced Happy Hour in the alley.

The get-together was fun, though I was suffering through a back injury and felt a little fragile. I’ll blame it on this unfortunate state of mind, and perhaps some overly conventional taste buds on my part…I love the idea of making a homemade tonic…the adventurous nature of it…using your mind and hands to try to improve on something…but in reality, I don’t think homemade tonic is exactly my cup of tea. Maybe I haven’t acquired the taste for it yet, maybe Schweppes and Polar Bear have ruined it for me, I don’t know. Speaking of tea, the drink had a distinct flavor of tea, at least to me. As it happens, I’ve never been a fan of the flavor of tea, so this drink didn’t quite speak to me. I know of many people, both at our alley Happy Hour, and certainly online, who rave about homemade tonic, and maybe at some point in the future, I’ll count myself among them. In the meantime, I’m grateful to Mike for letting us take advantage of his time and talents in this way! This is another impressive way that people have really used their creativity for a pandemic project! Cheers!


  • Gin

  • Mike’s homemade tonic

  • Limes


  • Pour roughly equal amounts of gin and tonic in a tall glass with ice.
  • Squeeze lime to taste (I like a couple of wedges).
  • Stir and sip, while discussing the state of the world.
Revisited on August 8

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