I used to think I was a tonic water snob because I was hopelessly devoted to Schwepps. There is something about Canada Dry’s cloyingly sweet, glue-like flavor that makes it vastly inferior to the one John Cleese used to pimp. However as I trudged down the endless rows of food and drink and food and drink and food and drink at this year’s Fancy Food Show, I learned that I had not even begun to understand how snobbish I could get.

Last quarter’s Imbibe Magazine had a recipe detailing how you (yes, you!) could brew your own tonic water. A process which, as CHOW blogger James Norton noted, seemed excessively time consuming just to squeeze out a puddle of brown water that dirtied up your gin and tonic. However, the piece is a testament to the fact that people are getting just as sniffy about their mixers as they are about their high-end alcohols. After all, if you are banging down top dollars for Hendrick’s, Van Gough, or Grey Goose, why taint their delicate flavors with heavy-handed, overly-sweet mixers?

No good reason, I slur. And this is why I am currently obsessed with Fever-Tree‘s line of tonic water, ginger ale, and bitter lemon. Previously available only in the UK (Fever-Tree’s managing director is Charles Rolls, the former owner of Plymouth Gin) these minute bottles of sublime refreshment will soon be poured into a cocktail near you. In fact, I have it on good authority that California’s favorite liquor superstore, Beverages & More!, will be stocking Fever-Tree by the end of this month.

In a taste test performed under the most scientific of conditions — there was a control group and everything — it was unanimously determined by a blind panel that Fever-Tree’s light, clean, and sharply bubbled flavors blew my previously favored Schwepps clear out of the tonic water. Next to Fever-Tree, Schwepps tasted heavy, fake, and sugary. While the ginger ale is still not equal to my preferred ginger beer, the Fever-Tree bitter lemon also put its Schwepps counterpart to shame.

Drink deep, my fellow tipplers, drink deep.

In a Fever for Tonic Water 12 April,2007Stephanie Lucianovic

  • haddock

    When I was a drinker I used to guzzle gin and soda. I hated tonic water, but used it to my advantage. At a crowded bar bout 25% of the time I ordered a gin and soda I would get gin and tonic. I could smell it well before it got my lips. I would gulp down as much as I could in one go and after swallowing say loudly, “Ugh, that was tonic water, what are trying to do kill me?”

    This sometime resulted in a free drink, but always resulted in the free gin that I was able to get down along with the tonic.

    Suffice it to say, I no longer drink.


Stephanie Lucianovic

A former picky eater, Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is a writer, editor, and lapsed cheesemonger in the San Francisco Bay Area. A culinary school grad with an English lit degree, she has written for CNN.com, MSNBC.com, Popular Science, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. Additionally, she has been writing for KQED’s Bay Area Bites since its inception and is the website editor for KQED’s Emmy-award winning show “Check, Please! Bay Area.”

Stephanie was an original recapper at Television Without Pity and worked on a line of cookbooks for William-Sonoma as well as in the back kitchen of a Jacques Pépin cooking show. Her first book, SUFFERING SUCCOTASH: A Picky Eater’s Quest To Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate (Perigee Books, 2012) is a non-fiction narrative and a heartfelt and humorous exposé on the inner lives of picky eaters that Scientific American called “hilarious” and “the perfect popular science book for a reader that doesn’t think he or she wants to read a popular science book.”

Stephanie lives in Menlo Park with her husband, three-year-old son, assorted cats, and has been blogging at The Grub Report for over a decade.

Follow her on Twitter at @grubreport

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