Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Our Customers - Timberline Tonic Syrup

One of our newer customers is Timberline Tonic Syrup.... and this is their story.

A "must read" if you are a fan of the "gin and tonic" drink.... and some interesting history for all of us.

 The Gin & Tonic was built backwards.

Quinine is the backbone of a Gin and Tonic.  Where most cocktails start with a spirit and add a mixer to change its flavor, the G&T began the other way around. Beginning back in the 1600s, British soldiers had to take a daily ration of incredibly bitter quinine to fight malaria.  In the early 1800s, British Redcoats stationed in Africa and India were using 700 tons of cinchona bark annually for their protective doses of quinine.  Quinine powder kept troops alive and many who ingested it to fight malaria also started experimenting with gin, sugar and lime to improve its flavor. This proved to be an exceptional episode in the history of mixology, one where the spirit was added to the mixer to improve the mixer's flavor.

The tonic of the English Empire (quinine, sugar, and water) bears very little resemblance to what we now know as tonic water. First, it used real quinine, which was taken from the bark of the cinchona tree (also known as the "fever tree”). Second, it was made from real sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. Finally, it wasn't bubbly and carbonated.  In fact, carbonation hadn't even been invented yet.

It wasn't until the 1850s that tonic was combined with carbonated water and sold as a mixture by Schweppes. That was when it went from "tonic" to "tonic water."  While tonic water was convenient, it lost something in the pre-packaging. You could control the ratio of tonic water to gin, but you couldn't control the ratio of quinine to water. This meant that getting more quinine flavor also led to watering down your drink. Not ideal. Over time, most companies switched to synthetic quinine, which altered the flavor even further.

Luckily, all is not lost.

As the name suggests, there are really only two components to a G&T (unless you count the lime or the ice), which means only two ways to screw it up. It's easy enough to avoid a bad gin. Bad tonic water, though, is the rule, not the exception. Look at a label and you'll see cheap high-fructose corn syrup is the first ingredient in almost all of them.

The vast majority of store-bought tonics are like soda pop with a little bitterness added to them.  Tonic is so bad, in fact—and so predominantly used with gin—that it convinces some people that the taste they don't like is the gin. There's no nuance. They're bad.  When they're not bad, they're boring.

We can fix that.

There is a better way.  Upgrade your G&T.

Like the tonics dating back to the British Empire, our tonic syrup is made with real quinine made from Peruvian cinchona bark.  To enhance your drinking experience, our tonic also has highlights from fresh lemongrass, citrus zest and genuine simple syrup. You add the water and have complete control of the flavor and pour to taste. If it isn’t bitter enough, add more syrup.  Too bitter, add more Club Soda, San Peligrino, or water from your SodaStream. 

We have done tees, hats and jiggers for the folks at Timberline Tonic.... making them the kind of "one stop shop" customer that creates a win for both of us.