This mocktail recipe needs to start with a quick disclaimer. It’s really fun to make extracts from natural ingredients like herbs, berries or bark, but it’s important to understand that you assume some personal risk when making your own extracts. So before you use ingredients like cinchona or juniper berries, you should take the time to research these ingredients to better understand how to avoid any potential negative effects. That way you will also be better prepared to determine if you are willing to accept the risk involved in using these ingredients.
I came up with this recipe for a very simple reason – I love gin and tonics in the summertime, but don’t love the corn syrup found in many conventional tonic waters, and don’t always want the alcohol found in the gin. My tonic water is based on the recipe you’ll find here. I have made it a few times and have enjoyed both the experience of making it, and how delicious it makes my final beverage! It’s lighter than conventional tonic water, but loaded with flavor and very refreshing. I combine this tonic with a simple syrup steeped with juniper berries, as juniper is the primary flavor found in most gin.
You can find ingredients like cinchona bark, lavender and juniper berries at many health and specialty stores, or order online.
Juniper Tonic Mocktail Recipe
For the tonic water
- Zest of 1 large orange
- Zest of 2 limes
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 1 TBL dried lavender
- 4 whole allspice berries
- 1/8 cup chopped cinchona bark (it is important to use the whole bark pieces, not powdered cinchona)
- 1 TBL dried lemongrass
- 1/8 cup citric acid
- 2 cups filtered water
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl, then place into a sealable glass container. A mason jar works great!
Add the water, then shake vigorously
Refrigerate for 72 hours, occasionally shaking the container
Strain twice through a cheese cloth into a clean, sealable glass container
Keep in the refrigerator
For the juniper syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 TBL dried juniper berries
Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil
Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently
Remove from heat and let cool
Remove from heat and store in the refrigerator in a clean, sealable glass container
To make the Juniper Tonic Mocktail
Add the juice of 1/4 lime to a tall glass with 1 1/2 TBL of tonic and 1 1/2 TBL juniper syrup. Stir to combine well.
Fill the glass with ice, then top with 8 ounces of lemon lime seltzer water. Stir gently, and top with lime.