Five Facts About Tonic Water

Sep 30, 2021

Tonic water, or Indian tonic water as it’s also known, is a classic addition to many a mixed drink. But  did you know that the carbonated soft drink was originally invented as a palatable way to give quinine to British soldiers stationed in India, in order to fight malaria?
Strangelove Tonic in martini glass with lemon

These days tonic water enjoyed more for its distinctly bitter flavour, and its ability to complement a gin-inspired drink such as Gordon's alcohol free gin or Lyre's spirits such as Dry London. 

What is tonic water made from?

Tonic water is a soft drink made from quinine, which is made from the bark of the cinchona tree. This tree is native to Central and South America, as well as parts of West Africa and some islands of the Caribbean. Although we no longer need the quinine to battle malaria, some believe it also helps to treat muscle cramps and restless leg syndrome.

How much sugar is in tonic water? 

The amount of sugar in tonic water can vary quite a bit, but at Sans Drinks we only stock premium tonic water. While some of the supermarket brands are higher in sugar, for example Schweppes contains 8.6g per 100ml, many of the brands we stock are lower in sugar or entirely sugar-free. StrangeLove Tonic No 8, for example, has 2.9g sugar per 100g, and Naked Life tonics are naturally sugar-free, without sacrificing the trademark tonic flavour.

Two bottles of Strangelove Light tonic

At Sans Drinks, we use the Australian Food Standards guidelines when displaying our products as sugar free or low in sugar. This means that all of our low sugar tonic contains less than 2.5g of sugar per 100g. Likewise, our low cal tonic waters are now more that 19 calories per 100g.

What is low sugar tonic water? 

To use the low sugar label, a beverage must contain 2.5g of sugar per 100g or less. These tonic waters not low sugar, however they are lower in sugar than mainstream brands. 

StrangeLove Tonic No 8

The blurb: This punchy Indian tonic water is made with with premium cinchona extract and hints of bitter orange and lemon peel. A touch of juniper means a dry finish. This is a great all-rounder which goes well with all gin-inspired spirits.

The sugar: 2.9g/100ml

StrangeLove Light Tonic

The blurb: This refreshing Indian tonic is on the dry side but is softened by a touch of fruit sugar and has a delicate citrus profile. Serve this one with any gin inspired spirits.

The sugar: 2.9g/100ml 

What customers are saying: "Great taste and not so calorie dense. When most of your drink is mixer, here is a great one to use." 

A bottle of Artisan Skinny London Tonic

Artisan Skinny London Tonic

The blurb: Aromatic botanicals along with orange and lemon essences give low sugar tonic a clean, crisp flavour with a citrus aftertaste.

The sugar: 3.8g/100ml

What customers are saying: "The best skinny tonic there is.! I can't get enough of Artisan."

What is Sugar free tonic water 

Sugar free tonic is completely free of sugar. 

Naked Life Naturally Sugar Free Botanic Tonic

The blurb: All-natural sweeteners, fruit extracts and natural flavours mean this sugar free tonic still packs a delightful subtle flavour and sophistication. The flavour profile includes cinchona bark extract, citrus, rosemary and pink pepper.

The Sugar: Zero 

What customers are saying: "I couldn't believe how complex this was on its own over ice. No need to try and add a non alcoholic mixer to this one . So good."

Naked Life Naturally Sugar Free Indian Tonic

The blurb: Sweeteners, fruit extracts and natural flavours make this sugar free tonic taste a whole lot like classic tonic. It features a blend of subtle citrus notes and cinchona bark extract.

The sugar: Zero

What customers are saying: "I have finally found a tonic that is actually better tasting AND ZERO sugar. This is it!"

What is the best tonic water in Australia 

If you’re looking for some of the best tonic water in Australia, it’s hard to go past our quality range including the premium Australian made StrangeLove tonic. We’ve searched the world and come back with what we think are the best tonic waters you can find anywhere.

Some of our favourites are:

StrangeLove Dirty Tonic

The blurb: For those who love a flavour profile with a bit of punch, the premium dry StrangeLove Dirty Tonic is made with unrefined cinchona bark, orange peel, rosemary and a just a pinch of sea salt. 

Strangelove Dirty Tonic and a mocktail

Artisan Classic London Tonic

The blurb: Natural citrus flavour and subtle botanicals mean this classic tonic has a fresh citrus finish followed by a nice clean aftertaste. It pairs perfectly with London-style gin inspired spirits.

StrangeLove Bitter Lemon Tonic

The blurb: This old school lemon mixer has a bitter twist. The StrangeLove Bitter Lemon Tonic's delicate and complex citrus profile comes from calamansi and bitter orange, with a touch of tart lemon. 

Bitter Lemon being squeezed

Artisan Agave Lemon Tonic

The blurb: This versatile mixer boasts a mexican inspired flavour, featuring lemon, chili and a hint of rock salt. 

If you’re a fan of tonic as a mixer or on its own, it’s worth trying a range to see what flavours you enjoy, and what goes well with your drink of choice. You’re sure to find a winner in this range.

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