Monday, October 22, 2007

Q Tonic - A Taste at Last

Since I didn't have to go to class today, we decided to conduct our taste test of Q Tonic. All of us were excited to try this new tonic, which we had heard and read about but not tasted. We decided to compare it to the other tonics we have on hand, Fever Tree, Stirrings and the ubiquitous Schweppes.

We have a special guest with us today, my father-in-law, so we had 4 people on our tasting panel this time. As before, we tried the tonics on their own, with our vodka and with our Distiller's Gin No. 6 (of course).

What did we think?
Our reviews of Q were mixed. We all liked it with the vodka, but most of us (3 out of 4) did not like it with the gin - it seemed to bury the gin too much and created some off notes on the palate. On its own, it is fresh tasting and light, with a moderate amount of quinine (Schweppes has more).

All of us still really liked the Fever Tree, and we found that when we adjusted the proportions, we could get a bit more of the gin to shine through. It was very fresh tasting, complex and not too sweet. It seems to have a bit more quinine than Q. Everyone ranked it 1st or 2nd with both the vodka and the gin.

With the Stirrings, one of us felt it was too sweet and therefore did not like it. However, two of us liked it best of all the tonics with the gin, loving its fresh citrus notes and its pairing with the gin. The Stirrings was the sweetest of the bunch, and was light on the quinine.

None of us picked the Schweppes as the best. We did like it better than other major market brands when we tried it before, but we like these new brands better.

Some conclusions:
  • Tonic water is a matter of personal taste - they vary on quinine, sweetness and other flavors
  • Tonics really do vary, they are not interchangeable
  • Tonics perform differently with different spirits, so you have to try them out with what you want to mix with - we picked different tonics as best for different spirits
Please chime in if you have any tonic experiences to share!


Anita said...

I've been meaning to comment for a while on this. We tasted the FeverTree and Stirrings alongside Canada Dry and Schweppes -- no Q yet out here, alas -- and the FeverTree was the unanimous winner. (Details midway through this post: )

~Sonja~ said...

Hi Anita, thanks for the comment! I did get my hands on the Q Tonic at Nopa in San Francisco, so if you happen to be there, ask Neyah if he has any more and you just might get to taste it. Its not sold there yet, but he contacted the company and they had sent him some to try out. If you try it, let me know how you like it.

The Fever Tree has become hard to find here in Chicago again, but they've just signed with a big distributor, so we hope to see it more often soon. Its fantastic.

Yuseff said...

We make a gin down here in San Diego called Old Grove Gin. Just tried it with the Q and Shweppes. The Q seemed to let the gin come through, definitely less sweet, and voted by us a be a very nice cocktail mixer. I hope this trend continues, both craft distillers and specialty bar mixers, and hopefully the mixologists will keep the two coming together!

~Sonja~ said...

Hey Yuseff,
Nice to see you here. Q is definitely less sweet than Schweppes, and a much nicer mixer. I am hearing about more high-end mixers, I sure you will soon too. Looking forward to trying your gin!