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Tonic Water Ingredients

Tonic Water Ingredients

What is the secret of the typical taste of tonic water? What are tonic water ingredients? If you enjoy the drink, leaf through this article to know about its origin and original composition. The article provides information on the nutritional value of tonic water too....
Leena Palande
Last Updated: Mar 10, 2018
Tonic water contains a very small amount of quinine, added just to enhance the flavor of the drink. If this water is considered as a cure for malaria, then the patient may have to drink at least 1.77 liters of the water a day or at least ten 'gin and tonics'! This would be quite expensive and it might give rise to other health complications!
What is Tonic Water?
Tonic water is a carbonated soft drink flavored with quinine. Quinine gives the typical bitter taste to the drink. It has its origin in British colonial India, where malaria was predominant. As people came to know about the medicinal properties of quinine in the 17th century, they started using it for curing and preventing malaria. It was necessary to take quinine regularly in tropical areas of South Asia and Africa. Owing to the wretched taste of quinine, the British started taking it with gin, some lemon and sugar. It helped the British officers to stay healthy. It was then brought back to Europe. As British officers drank tonic water, people started believing that gin and quinine can prevent malaria and would be good for their health.
Tonic Water Components
The original ingredients of tonic water were water, soda, gin, and quinine. Though it doesn't have enough quinine to reduce the symptoms of malaria, the drink is still known as "tonic water" meaning essentially healthful, perhaps because it contains quinine. It is sweetened and flavored with fruit extracts too. It does not contain caffeine.

Following are the ingredients of tonic water.
  • Spring water
  • Natural quinine
  • Sugar
  • Citric acid
  • Some 'botanical' flavors (presumably some of the usual bitter herbs)
  • Carbonated water
  • Sodium citrate
  • Natural fruit flavors
  • Sodium benzoate (preservative)
  • Saccharin (5.1 mg per fluid ounce)
Tonic Water Nutrition Facts
Tonic water with grape juice helps relieve pain and discomfort associated with leg cramps. But excessive intake of the drink can cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Originally, quinine was obtained from the bark of the Cinchona, a tree found in the Andes and in the rainforests. These days, quinine is produced chemically and is used in much larger doses to treat malaria. It has been proved now, that quinine therapy does not exactly help get rid of malaria; but it helps lower fever and malarial symptoms. Most of the time, a person has to take antibiotics to experience full recovery from malaria. The following table shows the amount of ingredients in 1 Cup/8 fl.oz./240 ml of "diet tonic water".
Name of the Element Quantity
Calories 0 kcal
Total Sugars 0 g
Carbohydrates 0 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Protein 0 g
Total Fat 0 g
Calcium 0 mg
Iron 0 mg
Sodium 65 mg

Tonic water calories depend upon the sugar content in the drink.
Tonic Water Recipes
There is a lovely version of tonic water with added lemon zest. The slight variation of flavor can hide the bitterness that keeps people away from the drink. I also tried for some variation and found that it was good! If you want, you may add vodka or gin to any recipe.
  • Add sliced lime, orange, and chunks of fresh pineapple to Indian tonic water and enjoy.
  • One third glass Indian tonic water, one third glass lemon barley squash, and one third glass mango squash with lots of ice cubes will make a good drink on a hot day.
  • Take equal parts of Indian tonic water and fresh pineapple juice. Add to it halved maraschino cherries and slices of fresh orange. Great combination!
  • Sprinkle sugar over a few fresh strawberries, leave them in fridge overnight, then put them in a tall glass, and fill the glass with tonic water.
If you want, you can substitute tonic water with ginger ale or lemon-lime soda. Tonic water is loved by people as a drink mixer for cocktails, especially those made with gin or vodka. It is considered as a versatile drink base and can be combined with a number of soft drinks, juices, fruits, or alcoholic drinks. Whatever be the tonic water ingredients, many drink applications are possible with it. Experiment and have fun this coming summer!