The Best Local Craft Tonic Water Brands in South Africa
It’s no secret that South Africa makes some incredible gins, and better yet with local ingredients. However, up until recently, we were still being forced to dilute these gins with foreign tonic. Thankfully, those days are over. Here are the local craft tonic water, cordials and concentrates we’re crushing on — see what we did there…?
Local Craft Tonic Water Brands
These local craft tonic water brands are absolutely worth the chase.
Barker and Quin Indian Tonic, which hails from Paarl, sticks to the classics and honours the traditional taste of an Indian tonic. This craft tonic water is a combination of natural spring water, zesty citrus notes and Indian spices, with the lingering aftertaste of natural quinine. It’s good enough on its own, but is obviously better in a G&T. Their Light at Heart version is low-cal, which we love.
Fitch and Leedes
These local craft tonics have been made to honour the merchants of London, Ralph Fitch and William Leedes, who set sail in 1583 in search of new, ‘exotic’ tastes in India and the East. The flavours are kept pretty clean and simple, with that refreshing bitter kick of quinine coming through. They have also have a millennial-inspired pink tonic, which features flavours of rose and cucumber, as well as a Lite version too.
Swaan Cape Dry Tonic
Swaan might be a new name to you, but Adi Badenhorst certainly isn’t. That’s right — everyone’s favourite winemaker makes tonic too, and we’ll have you know this was one of the original craft tonic water brands to hit local shelves. Swaan Dry Cape Tonic veers slightly from the classic Indian-style tonic. It’s made with local ingredients like spring water and botanicals such as quinine, lime, cardamom and mint.
Geometric Gin seems to have amassed a cult following in no time at all and it must be down to their dedication to allow the purest flavours of their gin come through. If you’re drinking Geometric Gin, you can’t simply throw in any old tonic, hence Symmetry tonics… each of the three tonic offerings showcases indigenous botanicals — Symmetry Citrus Tonic, brewed from a selection of fresh citrus and buchu, which gives it a distinct local aroma; Symmetry Spice Tonic has notes of fragrant spices and kapokbos; and Symmetry Floral Tonic with flavours of lavender, chamomile and leaves from the rose-scented Pelargonium. Not sure how to use it? Simply pour about 50ml of the tonic, top up with your choice of carbonated water and enjoy.
Although it’s technically marketed as an alcohol-free gin and tonic, this clever invention is essentially a tonic water infused with a myriad of botanicals usually associated with gins. So, you can expect to find notes of juniper, thanks to the addition of re-distilled juniper berries, as well as cloves, orange peel, allspice, star anise, and cardamom. Feel free to use as a mixer, or enjoy as intended, on its own.
Two in a Bush
Two in a bush is the epitome of local is lekker when it comes to tonic water. This local brand was cooked up by two besties (hence the name), in their Franschhoek farm kitchen. Their Premium Rooibos Iced Tea Cordial is made using only natural botanical ingredients, spices and fresh fruit. Two in a Bush is available in three flavours — Pure Tea for the purists, Honeybush and Raspberry, for those who prefer their tea a little sweeter, without the added sugar.
Next time you want to support local with your gin, make sure you do the same with your tonic. Not only do they use local ingredients and support small businesses, they also just taste that much better in conjunction with the indigenous flavours of gins. Check out all these amazing locally distilled South African gins on offer.
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