* Prices may differ from that shown
Gin and Tonic is a classic drink, enjoyed by millions for well over a hundred years. Indeed Schweppes Tonic Water was first produced back in the 1770s, a time when Gin was far more popular than it is today. It became a particularly popular drink in India during British Imperial rule, as the quinnine contest of the tonic was considered a good prevention for Malaria.
I could write about the taste and the fizzyness of Schweppes Tonic water (It is of course excellent), but instead I would like to give you a useful health tip!
In the summer I occasionally get terrible cramps in my calves when I wake during the night, especially if I have been exercising the day before. A friend of mine suggested keeping a small bottle or can of Schweppes Tonic Water by my bed, and drinking it if I get cramp. (I use the small "airline size" cans.) It does not prevent cramp, but once you have cramp if you drink it, it seems to stop the cramp from returning. Now the interesting thing is that I have tried using "Slimline" tonic, and also other brands of tonic, but they do not seem to work as well. Perhaps there is an ingredient, or combination of ingredients, in Schweppes that is not present in other types of tonic?
It is interesting that a drink originally marketed as having health benefits, and becoming popular as a result, can still be used medicinally today.
So, Schweppes Tonic Water - tastes great, traditional, has medicinal benefits.
What's not to love?
It may be because Schweppes was the only tonic water ever to be seen at home when I was growing up, but I absolutely love the stuff and really struggle to drink any other brand of tonic. There really is a big difference in taste!
One of my favourite alcoholic tipples is a gin and tonic, and while I will accept various different brands of gin (though Bombay Sapphire is favourite!) Schweppes is the only tonic water for me! It has just the perfect taste and right level of fizziness to complete my ice-cold G&T! A couple of years ago I was shocked at how much I disliked another brand of tonic (Waitrose own-brand - only bought because they had no Schweppes!) a I hadn't realised how different it could taste.
Schweppes tonic comes in various formats. There are large bottles, great if you're having a party as you get more for your money - but it will go flat in the fridge fairly quickly, and you need your tonic to be properly fizzy! You can also get smaller bottles - good for a few drinks. And the shops also stock multipacks of small 150ml cans of tonic. These are great as one can makes one drink perfectly - no waste, no flat tonic!
Schweppes also do a diet version of their tonic water - and these days I usually use Schweppes slimline tonic water and find that it tastes just as good as the fat version. And that means that my drink is healthy, right? Final word - it also tastes great without the gin in it (but do have plenty of ice and a slice of lemon or lime!)
As I was supping on my Gin and Tonic last weekend, I was relaxed and thinking how much I love Gin (as you do), but then also, I realised how much I love the tonic water too. I find usually with mixers, I focus more on the alcohol, rather than the mixer (I'd like to add here that I'm not an alcoholic...much). I really do think that Schweppes Tonic water is the perfect companion for Gin...Tonic water is the Barbie to Gin's Ken, if you will. So, as I drank some more, I thought, I'm going to write a review...on one of my all time favourite bevvy's (gin) best friend (tonic).
Mr Johann Schweppe discovered a way to put carbon dioxide in water (which he patented way back in 1783) and was originally created for medicinal purpose, hence the word 'tonic'. Some 7 years later in 1790, Mr Schweppe founded a factory in Drury Lane (London) to produce the fizzy water. More recently in 1969, Schweppes merged with Cadburys (the chocolate people, who started business in 1824) to create 'Cadbury Schweppes'. I would like to stress at this point, that they continued to make their own individual products, they didn't start making chocolate water, or fizzy chocolate, that would be silly!
What is Tonic Water and how does it taste?
I would also like to point out, although my title suggests that Tonic Water is only worth drinking with Gin, it really is tasty on its own. It is sometimes known by some retailers as Indian Tonic Water, but essentially, it's all the same thing. It's a fizzy water drink that is flavoured with Quinine. Which is basically a bitter liquid used to help fend off Malaria (for example in India, hence the water sometimes being refered to as Indian Tonic Water)...which lets face it, isn't abundant in this country, thank goodness. It has quite a bitter flavour and some would say it is an acquired taste. Of course, you don't have to drink it with Gin (although it's much better like that), it's very refreshing on it's own and will quench your thirst nicely. I find that on first sip, as it passes your lips, it's tastes like regular soda water, then as it reaches the back of your tongue a bitter and sharp quality takes over your palette. Some would describe the flavour as citrus, but I feel that only cheapens the experience of tasting it.
You can also buy it now with a twist of lime, which is just as yummy, I find. I have often tried the diet variety, but find it to have a somewhat aspartaminey, fake kind of taste that I don't like much, however, it's good for the old waist line, true, but I prefer full fat boy type (don't we all, secretly?)
240ml is the average serving size and for that you will consume 90kcal, no fat (music to our ears) or protein. 35mg of Sodium and 23g of carbs of which 22g sugars. Hmmm, so it's better than a glass of coke...or am I in denial about that??
Price, Availability, Packaging etc...
Tonic Water can be brought from pretty much anywhere that sells drinks: Supermarkets, Cornershops, Off Licenses etc. It can be brought it bottles or cans, as with all good soft drinks. Depending on the size prices can vary from as little as 45p per can, and up to 1.45GBP for a litre bottle. You don't just have to buy from the Schweppes brand, many supermarkets do their own versions, which I find to be just as good.
Tonic water is a very good source of Quinine, which as well as being used against malaria, as I've already said, it can also be used to help prevent small (and not too severe) cramps. Hurrah! No cramps for me! Also, I found out something else, that I think this is particularly cool and interesting...under a UV light...it will glow! So, go clubbing, get a gin and tonic, and you can leave your glow stick at home! Jobs a good'un! Aaaand, that's not all, did you know that if you don't like Tonic Water due to it's bitterness, if you add a sprinkle of salt, it will make it taste sweet (god bless Wiki) although I'm no rush to try this!
So, although (Indian) Tonic Water isn't to everyone's tastes, I love it. I always try to have a nice supply in my fridge. If you ever find yourself lounging in the sun, in need of a nice refreshing drink, I would thoroughly recommend trying a slurp of Tonic Water over ice, and if you are that way inclined and partial to a drop of something stronger, add a good helping of Gin too and let your summer days drift along beautifully. Having said that, I drink it all year round...so it's perfectly enjoyable in cold climates too.
For more info, check out:
Thanks for reading :)
© MarcoG 2008
(also on ciao)