Learn / Cocktails With Tonic Water: 7 Recipes

Cocktails With Tonic Water: 7 Recipes

Aplós, September 1st, 2023

In a world ever racing toward complexity, the resurgence of tonic water in cocktails whispers an invitation to savor the simple yet profound. A bitter, bright note that complements the flavors of spirits and botanicals, tonic water adds that unique character that guides us into the allure of remaining present in the moment.

With a renewed fascination toward natural ingredients and artisanal craftsmanship, tonic drinks, whether spirited or spirit-free, evoke a connection to nature's grace and beauty in small moments.

In this article, we journey into the world of tonic water, exploring its history, characteristics, and the secret behind its resurgence, including recipes on how to craft your own tonic water concoctions. We invite you to pause, savor, and embrace the gentle wisdom in these simple yet profound blends.

What Is Tonic Water?

Tonic water, a subtle echo of botanical wellness, has been bubbling in glasses since the 19th century. Originating as a medicinal elixir, its primary characteristic, quinine — a naturally occurring compound primarily found within the bark of a cinchona tree — was once used to ward off malaria.

Over time, this translucent liquid has transcended its therapeutic roots to become a key player in the world of cocktails. With a balanced bitterness, it dances with flavors, harmonizing with various spirits and non-alcoholic substitutes. The hint of sweetness underlines the bitter notes, creating a complex and intriguing taste reminiscent of a hidden forest glade or a refreshing mountain spring.

This simple carbonated beverage has found its way into traditional alcoholic mixtures and innovative non-alcoholic creations, reflecting a broader desire to engage with what's pure, natural, and soulful. For, in the world of tonic water, as in life, beauty often resides in the subtle, quiet whisper of flavor that calls us back to ourselves, the present, and the wonder of existence.

Why Are Tonic Drinks Popular?

In the current era of mindfulness, where the senses seek experiences beyond mere consumption, tonic drinks have found renewed popularity. The resurgence is more than a trend; it's a recognition of something deeper, a path toward sensory exploration that resonates with modern mixology.

The desire to craft cocktails with character, whether imbued with alcohol or devoid of it, echoes a societal shift towards appreciating natural elements and health-conscious choices. Tonic water, with its distinct flavor profile and botanical underpinnings, offers a conduit to create drinks that aren't just consumed but experienced.

The bitter or bright notes don't just quench thirst; they allow a pause, a moment of reflection, a chance to engage with beauty in small moments, and a way to embrace the present. In this way, tonic drinks have become a component of our drinking culture and a philosophy, inviting us to slow down, observe, and truly taste life's subtle textures.

What Is the Flavor Profile of Tonic Water?

Tonic water, like a soft breeze through a lush botanical garden, offers a taste experience that is both complex and singular. The quinine yields a gentle bitterness that awakens the palate and calls forth a reverie of natural landscapes. This bitter note is often balanced with a hint of sweetness, creating a sensory bridge between the rustic and the refined.

Unlike the neutral flavors of seltzer or soda water, tonic water bears an identity, a voice that resonates with the essence of the earth. It isn't merely a substitute or a filler; it's a conversation with nature, a whisper of wilderness. Premium tonics further elevate this experience, introducing nuances and variations that flirt with the senses.

When mingled with other ingredients, tonic water doesn't lose its essence; it shares its soul, lending its unique characteristics to create beverages that are not merely tasted but felt. In the world of cocktails, tonic water serves as an invitation to experience beauty in small, mindful sips.

7 Best Alcoholic and Alcohol-Free Tonic Water Cocktail Recipes

A journey into the world of tonic cocktails is akin to a stroll through a garden of flavors, where each ingredient blooms with individuality yet harmonizes with the whole. Here are some paths to explore.

1. Gin and Tonic

A timeless classic, the gin and tonic embodies simplicity and elegance. The bitter grace of tonic water embraces the botanical complexity of gin, creating a drink that refreshes and engages.


  • 2 oz Gin
  • 4 oz Tonic water
  • Lime wedge

Fill a rocks glass with ice, add gin, and top with tonic water. Stir gently and garnish with a lime wedge. Allow the flavors to unfold, savoring each sip as a journey, a celebration of taste that resonates with the soul.

2. Vodka Tonic

The vodka tonic is an embodiment of elegance in simplicity. Crisp and versatile, it stands as a canvas for creativity, unassuming yet ready to dazzle. Adding fruits like strawberry, lime, or cranberry transforms this cocktail into a sweeter symphony of flavors, a celebration of taste.


  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 4 oz Tonic water
  • Fruit of choice (e.g., strawberry, lime, cranberry)

Fill a highball glass with ice, vodka, and the fruit of your choice. Top with tonic water and stir gently. Let the bright melody of flavors serenade your senses, garnish with a citrus wedge of choice, and enjoy.

3. Elderflower Tonic

An enchanting blend, the elderflower tonic captures the mystique of nature in a glass. Elderflower's soothing floral notes dance with the earthy bitterness of tonic, creating a cocktail that lingers like a beautiful memory.


  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • 0.5 oz Elderflower liqueur
  • 4 oz Tonic water
  • Lime wedge

Combine gin and elderflower liqueur over ice. Top with tonic water, stir gently, and garnish with a lime wedge.

4. Tequila Tonic

The tequila tonic is a sun-kissed embrace of flavor, where tequila's warmth meets the tonic's cooling grace. A delightful marriage of rustic charm and refined elegance, this cocktail invites a moment of mindfulness and sensory exploration.


  • 2 oz Tequila
  • 4 oz Tonic water
  • Lime or lemon wedge

In a glass filled with ice, pour tequila and top with tonic water. Stir with gentle reverence for the mingling flavors, and garnish with a wedge of lime or lemon for an added touch of brightness.

5. Tonic Cubano

Part mojito and part Cuba libre, the tonic Cubano is evocative of a warm Caribbean breeze. It’s a delightful fusion of Cuban rum and tonic's earthy essence that whispers tales of distant shores and timeless moments.


  • 2 oz Cuban rum (or a rum of your choice)
  • 4 oz Tonic water
  • 2 Mint sprigs
  • 1 Lime slice

Muddle mint and lime in a rocks glass, then pour in the Cuban rum and ice. Top with tonic water and stir with a mindful touch. Garnish with a lime wedge and mint, and embark on a sensory journey.

6. St. Clements Tonic

A zestful celebration of bright citrus notes harmonizing with the tonic's unique bitterness, the St. Clements is a portrait of summer's warmth captured in a glass. This drink invites you to pause, savor, and revel in the joy of the moment.

Easily adapted to a low ABV or non-alcoholic experience with orange juice and a few drops of lemon bitters or Aplós Calme, it offers a versatile celebration of life's bright and citrus flavors — with or without the alcohol.


  • 2 oz Orange liqueur, orange juice, or Aplós Calme
  • 4 oz Tonic water
  • Orange twist

In a Collins glass filled with ice, blend liqueur or your non-alcoholic choice and tonic water. Stir gently, garnish with an orange twist, and embrace the joy in each sip.

Elevate the experience with a sprig of rosemary or a cucumber garnish, and let the flavors transport you to a sun-kissed garden.

7. Aplós & Tonic

The Aplós & Tonic is a graceful blend of simplicity and sophistication — an effortless creation that offers itself to you. This seamless blend of Aplós non-alcoholic functional spirits and tonic invites you to pause, savor, and find solace in a moment of serenity. It's a gentle reminder of nature's inherent elegance, a whisper of flavors that beckons you home.


Serve in a rocks glass over a large ice cube and garnished with a slice of citrus. Let the flavors unfold in harmony, inviting you into a dance of taste and sensation that transcends the ordinary.

Why Use Functional Spirits for Your Tonic Cocktails?

In stark contrast to alcoholic beverages, functional spirits like Calme and Arise herald a new era of mindful imbibing, weaving the elegance of botanical wellness into your glass. Unlike traditional alcohol, they elevate the moment without the burden of negative health effects, keeping you fully present to experience life's richness without the shadow of a hangover.

With its infusion of broad-spectrum hemp, Calme is designed to uplift and soothe. It's a gentle embrace of botanical wellness, offering an ethereal and grounded taste.

Arise, meanwhile, is imbued with adaptogenic herbs, creating a unique blend that invigorates and elevates. It celebrates nature's wisdom, translated into a taste experience.

Swapping out traditional liquors with functional spirits offers a path toward mindful enjoyment and a deeper connection with ourselves and the world around us. Both Calme and Arise offer a recalibration, a pause to reconnect with what matters.

Whether savoring the citrusy complexity of Calme or the earthy boldness of Arise, these functional spirits invite you to experience life more fully, find beauty in the present, and elevate ordinary moments into extraordinary ones.

Embrace Balanced Wellness With Aplós

The world of tonic water unveils a fascinating tapestry of flavors and possibilities, from the crisp elegance of a classic gin and tonic to the sun-kissed joy of a St. Clements.

Whether you’re enjoying a new twist on a timeless classic or creating your own tonic-imbued magic, we invite you to embrace the allure of botanical wellness and the bitterness that tingles your taste buds with Aplós functional spirits. Discover cocktail recipes that elevate your palate and your entire sensory experience of each wondrous moment.


Quinine, an old anti-malarial drug in a modern world: role in the treatment of malaria | PMC

Elderberry and Elderflower Extracts, Phenolic Compounds, and Metabolites and Their Effect on Complement, RAW 264.7 Macrophages and Dendritic Cells | PMC

Alcohol's Effects on the Body | NIAAA

What are Adaptogens & Types | Cleveland Clinic

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