Matt Ufford’s DIY Tonic Syrup
Here's my from-the-hip recipe. I stand by it, but I'm already eager to make tweaks to the next batch: a more aggressive dose of aromatic spices, lime zest, maybe some lavender. Like I said, it's hard to mess up. Give it a try, you'll see.
.25 cup cinchona bark powder
.25 cup citric acid
3 stalks of fresh lemongrass, cut into quarter-inch rounds
8-10 green cardamom pods
8-10 whole cloves
12-15 allspice berries
15-20 whole coriander seeds
.25 tsp salt
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1 grapefruit
Approx. 3 cups simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water, heated and stirred until sugar dissolves)
In 4 cups of water, bring the cinchona, citric acid, lemongrass, cardamom, cloves, allspice, coriander and salt to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Allow mixture to cool and pour into a jar. Once at room temperature, add all of the zest and refrigerate for 2-3 days, gently shaking mixture 1-2 times per day.
After 2-3 days, strain through a sieve to remove the lemongrass, spices and zest. Strain a second time through cheesecloth to remove much of the cinchona particulate. More straining is recommended: A coffee filter is time-consuming but effective, or you can put the mixture back in the fridge, let it settle some more, and strain through cheesecloth again.
Depending how much water has boiled off or been lost in the straining process, you will have 2-3 cups of highly bitter quinine syrup. Whisk in simple syrup at a 1:1 ratio. Bottle and store in the refrigerator.
For a Gin and Tonic, pour approximately 2 tablespoons (or 1 ounce) of syrup to 1.5 ounces of gin. Add soda water to taste.