Celebrating with Gin and Tonic

Posted by September 29, 2014 Cookbooks 2 Comments

The drink pictured is gin with my homemade tonic. This last week we’ve had glorious summer weather despite the calendar telling us it’s autumn. It has been perfect gin and tonic weather, which was lucky as it was the star beverage at my book launch.  I celebrated Bitter’s arrival on Canadian shelves with a an event at Reposado. This wonderful tequila bar is owned by friends of mine who, also organized a gin sponsor for the event. Thank you! So the tonic was mixed with Bombay Sapphire East gin and it turned out to be a great match. Bombay Sapphire East has notes of pepper and lemongrass with a mild citrus flavour, and tonic is a mixture of citrus, lemongrass, star anise, allspice and pepper –  perfect harmony.

Homemade tonic is not clear like commercial brands. The cinchona powder colours it orange brown and gives it a bitter taste. (Quinine is extracted from cinchona bark).  You don’t drink it straight, but mix it 50/50 with sparkling water, and add a slice of lime.  It is the quintessential summer drink and it is even good without gin. We forget that bitterness is much more thirst quenching than sweetness, so I urge you to try it. One person who did said,

“…the sensation of drinking homemade tonic water after a lifetime of the store bought stuff was like seeing a full-colour movie for the first time after being stuck  all my like with black and white.”

And we all need a little more colour in our life.



  • Charles Audet says:

    At the moment , I’m chewing through “FAT”. I suppose I’ll acquire “Bitter”, if just to make the tonic water.
    What I struggle with is the “waste” my friends provide me with from their livestock. The most recent problem is the preparation of lamb spare ribs. Here in the Shenandoah Valley, they have an aversion to strong lamb fat flavour. Have you any preparations to out-spice the strong flavour of the ribs? I make these kind people many different meals with all the odd bits they just discard,with great success. The ribs are causing me some challenges. I would appreciate any input you can afford me. These folks keep me stocked with all the good stuff…raw milk,tongues, feet, tails,livers,heart,hocks,cheeks,snouts…etc.
    They are worth the effort to educate.
    Respectfully submitted

    • Well I would love you to have all four of my books, but that is up to you. In BONES I cook them with a mustard oregano or a spiced yogurt glaze. And another way is to cook them with beans, but I don’t think you can ever hide the lamb taste. Remove as much excess fat as you can. Slowly cook them to render a lot of the fat and then you can finish them on the grill with a spicy tomato based glaze. You are lucky to have a source for everything from raw milk to snouts. Have you cooked testicles yet? I assume you have a copy of Odd Bits?