How a Premium Tonic Syrup Differs from a Tonic Water

Find out why cocktail enthusiasts love the refined taste and ingredients of a premium tonic syrup.

Although most people are familiar with tonic water, not everyone knows about tonic syrup.

Tonic syrup, a form of tonic water concentrate, is a relatively new arrival on the cocktail scene. But it can offer a more refined and artisanal taste and is often made with real, fresh ingredients that appeal to both foodies and cocktail artists alike.

Here’s a look at the differences between tonic water and small batch tonic syrups, and why you might prefer one option over the other.

Tonic Water vs. Tonic Syrup

Tonic water originated during the British Empire when quinine was used to prevent and treat malaria. British officials stationed in India and other parts of the world mixed quinine with soda and sugar to create a homemade version of tonic water, which was later commercially bottled by Schweppes.

The industrially produced, mass-marketed brands of tonic water you’ll find on the shelves, along with other cocktail mixers today, are a clear soft drink typically made with low-cost ingredients including carbonated water, processed quinine, citric acid, high-fructose corn syrup or aspartame, as well as other preservatives and ‘natural flavors.’ Tonic water is most often used to make common well drinks like gin and tonics or vodka tonics.

When it comes to tonic syrup, on the other hand, not all brands are created equal. Like Joanna’s, a few tonic syrups on the market are handcrafted and contain real ingredients—the bark of the cinchona tree (the natural source of quinine), fresh citrus juices, and an array of spices. Tonic syrup can be mixed with gin and carbonated water like club soda, seltzer, or sparkling water, to create a gin and tonic that’s more nuanced. You can also use tonic syrup in a wide variety of alcoholic beverages and mocktails.

Tonic syrups provide an easy way to upgrade your drinks and wow your guests. But tonic syrups offer more advantages than we can sum up in one short paragraph! Learn more about the benefits of tonic syrup below.

9 Reasons Why You Should Choose Tonic Syrup Over Tonic Water

#1: Taste. When it comes to the taste of your tonic water, what you taste is what you get. Tonic syrups are unique. They allow you to control the level of flavor in your drink—you can add more or less tonic syrup to create a cocktail that fits your own preferences. Tonic water doesn’t offer that customization. Tonic syrup can elevate your cocktail to a new dimension of unique, refreshing flavors mass-produced mixers just can’t match.  

#2: Artisan-Crafted. While some tonic syrups are mass produced, some are produced by real people who lend their own experience, knowledge, and creativity to each batch. Joanna’s premium tonic syrups are no exception. In an industry frequently dominated by bearded hipsters, Joanna brings a unique aesthetic and perspective. If you’re the type of person who gravitates toward supporting a local artisan rather than purchasing a product from a mass producer, you’ve come to the right place!

#3: Purity and Quality. Tonic water is often made with inexpensive ingredients. It’s a product that was made to be produced in large batches. Unlike many brands of tonic water, tonic syrups are often made with real ingredients. Using a high-quality tonic syrup makes a lot of sense, especially if you are using premium liquors in your cocktails. Why bury the nuanced flavors of high-end liquors in a bland-tasting tonic water?

#4: Convenient and Easy. Tonic syrups allow you to make a premium drink without buying multiple hard-to-find, expensive ingredients. One little bottle already contains the right blend of ingredients to make your cocktails stand out from the crowd.

#5: Perfect for Entertaining. Tonic syrups are great for impressing family and friends with unique cocktails that truly make a statement with their taste buds.

#6: Versatile. A gin and tonic is just one great drink option. Tonic syrups can be used in many different cocktails made with rum, tequila, sparkling wine, sherry, vermouth, and vodka. Try a tequila tonic for an alternative to a margarita, or relax with a Prosecco spritzer for a simple but unique beverage. These are just a few of the many cocktail options.

#7: Appearance and Color. Factory-made tonic water is clear. But small-batch tonic syrups like Joanna’s have a beautiful blush amber color—a natural effect created by the spices and citrus ingredients in the syrup.

#8: Unique and Exclusive Feel. A regular gin and tonic or vodka tonic doesn’t usually generate excitement, especially among cocktail enthusiasts. But by simply adding a tonic syrup, you can create a one-of-a-kind experience to satisfy the most discerning drinker.

#9: On Trend. The days of appletinis are over. More people are looking for sophisticated, balanced drinks—not the tart sugar bomb. Handcrafted products are all the rage. The craft beer industry has skyrocketed in recent years, and local distilleries are also popping up all over the country. Tonic syrups are part of a larger trend that embraces quality ingredients, true craftsmanship, and unique flavor profiles.

Want to see what all the buzz is about? Learn more about Joanna’s approach to creating a tonic syrup with a balanced, complex flavor. Then order your own bottle of Joanna’s premium, handcrafted tonic syrup.