Yes, there is indeed such a thing -- I was very fortunate to be invited along to the launch of Scotland's first Tonic water.

You might think tonic  water is tonic water, however you would be quite wrong.

Those of us who enjoy a gin will be very familiar with Indian tonic water.  First created in the 1800s by the British in India, it is in essences carbonated water with quinine dissolved in it.  They discovered that quinine was an effective preventative medicine against malaria, and what better way to consume in than in a Gin and Tonic.

Quinine comes from the bark of a cinchona tree and is actually very toxic if taken in large doses.  These days quinine is strictly controlled, as are the levels in tonic water.  In some cases tonic water now contains a fake, synthesised alternatives.

None the less, quinine is very bitter and tonic often has artificial sweeteners and sugar syrup added to alleviate the taste slightly.

We're probably all familiar with the most famous tonic water --  In recent years a few premium brands have also appeared.

Yesterday saw the launch of the very first tonic water, made in Scotland.

Summerhouse Drinks are an award winning brand, started in January 2014, with a interesting range including a Misty lemonade; Scottish Raspberry lemonade; Hint O'Mint, and Lavender Lemonades.

They have been working away in secret, perfecting a truly unique Tonic water.

Tonic Water - made in Scotland

Tonic Water - made in Scotland

Their "Walter Gregor" tonic water is named after a minister in the historic Parish of Pitsligo, Aberdeenshire, where Summerhosue Drinks are based.  As well as his Parish duties he was also a folklorest, academic and natural historian with a love of plants.

The Summerhouse Tonic Water is created using traditional quinine, a little citric acid and a secret combination of botanicals.

The Taste Test

Simply: It is like no tonic water you have ever tasted.  Seriously.  It has a light, fresh green taste with a slight sharpness; gone is the bitter cheek clenching ache, which some tonic waters generate. 

The tonic water is very pleasant to drink on its own over ice, however the real test for me was with a gin.

I sampled the tonic with a Hendrick's and then a Botanist gin.  Both wonderful gins, and perfectly complimented by the Walter Gregor tonic.  The mixer is not masking any of the complex flavours of the gin.


Walter Gregor tonic has only just been launched; the team at Summerhouse Drinks are now working to increase supply and availability.

For the moment you can buy it online from the Fresh Food Express farm shop.


The price of this premium tonic water is reflected in the effort and hand prepared nature of this small-batch tonic water.  A 200ml bottle is around £1.50

On the face of it this appears expensive, however when you are buying quality gins it makes sense to fill your glass with an equally pleasing mixer -- one which will not kill the flavour of the gin botanics.

Go on treat yourself to a premium Scottish Tonic Water -- I've ordered my first case of it and look forward to its arrival.


In the interests of disclosure: I was neither encouraged, sponsored or asked to write this blog post.  The words, views and images are all my own.


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Ruth Hume Scott on 25 Apr 2015 03:24:43

How have I only found out about 'Forking Mad' today?.....x

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