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Coffee & Tonic

What’s cooler than being cool? Ice-cold coffee with a load of tonic water. That’s what.

Yes, you read that right. Inspired by a signature house drink on the menu at the acclaimed Koppi in Helsingborg, Sweden, this unlikely couple has since been cropping up on menus at the hippest venues across the US. Branded as coffee tonics, Espresso tonics, cold brew tonics, Kaffe Tonic and even Black Tonics, this is a trend that we’re predicting to make its way across the pond – hopefully just in time for autumn.

The concoction is composed, simply, of espresso or cold brew (sometimes cold brew concentrate) coffee, tonic water, and ice. Certain variations call for a garnish of dark fruit flavours, the addition of maraschino cherries (or bourbon soaked if we’re going boozy) pomegranate, or a squeeze of lemon and sprig of rosemary.

If bitter flavours are your thing, then think of this as the millennials’ answer to Campari. The bright, complex bitterness from the tonic’s quinine complements the acidity of the espresso, with a refreshing fruitiness from the citric acid akin to fresh lemon zest, and a bubbliness that provides an entirely new coffee-drinking experience. This is a drink ready to sub in for a morning iced coffee, but equally able to satisfy the need for something sweet at 3pm.

So, how to make it? We attempt three different versions, for your drinking pleasure.

Coffee & Tonics

Espresso Tonic, left, with Fever-Tree Tonic Water, and Pedrino Alcoholic Tonic & Coffee, right.

1. Traditional Espresso & Tonic

The easy way to enjoy the new trend. Tonic + shot of coffee. Boom.

- 30ml espresso coffee (1 short black shot)
- 100ml or Fever-Tree Indian tonic water

Make an espresso as usual (if you have a coffee pod machines, use an unflavoured shot) and leave to cool. Fill a tall glass with ice, pour in tonic water then carefully layer the espresso over the tonic very slowly to give a nice crema and a layered drink. It's satisfying, bright, refreshing, complex, sweet, soft, lightly fizzy and citrussy all at once, with a lovely creamy top. You can also smell parts of the coffee that are sometimes lost in a normal cup of the stuff.

2. Mr. Black & Tonic

Fans of the Coffee Tonic rather than Espresso Tonic swear by replacing the coffee shot with a cold brew concentrate. We say go one better and use alcoholic cold brew coffee Mr. Black

- 1oz Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
- 3oz 1724 premium tonic water
- Optional maraschino cherry garnish

Fill a glass with ice, pour in the tonic and slowly pour Mr. Black. Gently stir. Maraschino cherry optional. Mr Black's lowered bitterness - with just a subtle tinge of the booze from the liqueur - has an excellent flavour profile and is a great, naughty update to the trend.

3. Pedrino Alcoholic Tonic & Coffee

This wondrous conconction is fluffy, fruity, and somehow smells and tastes of chocolate malt. Use fruitier beans (e.g. from Ethiopia) as these pair best with the citrus sherry in Pedrino.

- 30ml espresso coffee (1 short black shot)
- 100ml Pedrino Alcoholic Tonic Water

As with the previous recipes, pour the tonic over ice and layer the coffee shot. If espresso isn't your thing and you would rather make with coffee, start with the same 3:1 ratio and adjustit by taste-testing the mix until you get it just right, which all depends on the type of coffee bean and strength of the brew.


Tagged in: cocktails, tonic, coffee, cold brew, coffee liqueur. Categories: In The News, Cocktail Recipes, How To, Trends.

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