Mmmm, tonic water my favorite.
January 6, 2012 1:43 PM   Subscribe

I like the taste of tonic water, but don't like all the sugar and carbonation. What else can I try?

I'm not a supertaster, but I can tell the difference between quinine and quinine hydrochloride in supermarket tonic waters (I prefer quinine). And I've been drinking diet tonic water as less sugar is preferred. Please, non-alcoholic beverages only, also I don't drink coffee or tea.

I've recently started adding a tablespoon of vinegar to a 1 liter of water. And, while, I like the taste of it I'm looking to expand my options.
posted by zinon to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Club soda with lemon.
posted by two lights above the sea at 1:45 PM on January 6, 2012

What about getting some Tonic syrup and mixing it with flat water?

You can get tonic syrup at a bunch of different price points - from artisan syrup to mass-market SodaStream stuff.
posted by muddgirl at 1:47 PM on January 6, 2012

You can buy tonic syrup, or make your own and use less sugar than the recipe specified.
posted by kathryn at 1:48 PM on January 6, 2012

Whenever I get a bottled soda, I open it, take a swig, squeeze all the air out of the bottle, recap, and shake. Repeat until proper carbonation level is achieved.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:49 PM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Buy a SodaStream or equivalent and make your own tonic water.

Or, make your own non-alcoholic Campari soda.

Or, drink Aperol, which has a measly 3% alcohol.

In my experience, vinegar water works best when you use apple cider vinegar and the water is hot. Maybe with a little honey, maybe not.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:56 PM on January 6, 2012

Or, Sanbitter (or Chinotto).
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:57 PM on January 6, 2012

If you like plain vinegar water, you will probably also like shrubs, because they are delicious. Shrub syrup (basically vinegar with natural flavoring and some sugar) is usually mixed with sparkling water but can just as easily be mixed with plain water.

Depending on how strict your non-alcoholic condition is, consider bitters also. Though bitters are quite alcoholic by themselves, just a few drops in a glass of water give a nice flavor. Also, kombucha -- very minor alcohol content, tasty vinegar-ish flavor. It is tea-based, but can be made with white or green tea, if you drink those.
posted by EmilyFlew at 2:11 PM on January 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

Water, water, water is the best.
posted by Hobgoblin at 2:23 PM on January 6, 2012

You could try adding a few dashes of bitters to flat water. Bitters technically contain alcohol, but since you'd only be adding perhaps a teaspoon to a glass, it's a non-issue unless you are a recovering alcoholic or teetotaler.

Angostura bitters are the most common, at least in the US, but there are a whole bunch of varieties that incorporate different flavorings. Quinine is a common ingredient in bitters, which suggests you might like it.
posted by jedicus at 2:31 PM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've had these blood orange bitters before, they're great. Non-alcoholic, too. Try them mixed with some club soda.
posted by mullingitover at 2:42 PM on January 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

A caveat on the 'make your own tonic' recipe. Using the listed amount of citric acid makes it absurdly acidic (pH way below 2, so going into car battery acid territory), which I guess is why they also add so much sugar/agave nectar - so if you want something less sweet, you probably also want to reduce the citric acid.
posted by ivancho at 2:49 PM on January 6, 2012

If you like vinegar in water, you might love sekanjabin, although you may want to decrease the sugar and keep it on the sour side. The cucumber is an optional garnish, and if you don't have fresh mint, you can use dried.
posted by maudlin at 2:53 PM on January 6, 2012

Flavored sparking water and juice is a new favorite of mine; you could go use half lime or lemon juice or lemonade, sparking water for a more tart drink (I use go w/ cranberry juice and lime sparkling water, or apply juice and raspberry sparking water for sweeter).
posted by ejaned8 at 3:32 PM on January 6, 2012

San Pellegrino with a wedge of lime.

If you like the taste of Campari, as has been suggested above, San Bitter or Aperol diluted with club soda and ice is a great non/low alcoholic drink.

There are also flavored generic club sodas at the supermarket that they basically add a touch of lemon, lime, or whatever essence/oil to flavor it with no calories.
posted by wcfields at 4:57 PM on January 6, 2012

True Lime powder added to water is nice.
posted by lakeroon at 5:32 PM on January 6, 2012

seconding bitters...and omg, the concept of blood orange bitters sounds ah-mazing! want.
posted by sexyrobot at 10:42 PM on January 6, 2012

Have you tried diet tonic? It's awesome! I drink rather a lot of it, actually.
posted by Lynsey at 12:45 AM on January 7, 2012

Shrubs: I do love my rhubarb so I start that one right away.

Sekanjabin: I don't know that'll I dip any lettuce in it, but cucumber and mint does sound refreshing.

I'll look around for tonic syrups, though it seems they have alot of sugars in them. I might try making my own if I ever find some powdered cinchona bark.
posted by zinon at 7:16 AM on January 7, 2012

I recently fell in love with pomegranate molasses, which is essentially pomegranate juice, greatly reduced. It has a bitter, piquant flavor that does not disappoint with sparkling or even flat water. You can find it at your local Whole Foodsy type place or in Middle Eastern groceries.
posted by mynameisluka at 11:33 AM on January 7, 2012

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