Monday, July 6, 2009

Q Tonic: A Taste Test

I was in Brooklyn a few weeks ago and while there picked up some locally produced food goods. I got the divine Mast Brothers chocolate used in yesterday's pots de crème and this tonic water. The 'Q' presumably standing for quinine, the essential ingredient in tonic water (not high fructose corn syrup, as we have been brought to believe).
Ages ago when my family lived in Johannesburg, my parents would quite often have friends over for dinner. I knew we would be having company when several bottles of tonic water appeared on the kitchen counter and olives sat tantalizingly in the fridge. Fortunately, my parents were not of the go-to-your-rooms-til-the-company's-gone persuasion, but let my brother and sister and me join the grown-ups at the table. I always ate too many olives and felt very cosmopolitan drinking my glass of tonic water.
Somewhere along the line drinking tonic water became less daring. When I was little, tonic had a nice bitterness to it. As I grew up, I thought it was a maturation of my taste buds that made what once had been pleasingly bitter seem sweeter and sweeter. I think now that it had more to do with the addition of copious amounts of high fructose corn syrup. I am very pleased to taste a tonic water with a more complex flavor than I have come to expect, the bitter edge I remember, and not a hint of hfcs. This truly is 'a superior tonic water.' I can't wait to try it with gin.

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