I'd never really thought about making tonic water until I saw this on Scott's blog. Then I googled, and found this recipe, and was intriuged. I don't really like soft drinks - too sugary. I don't mind tonic because it's not quite as sickly-sweet, but it still packs a mighty sugary punch. So the idea of a less-sweet more-savoury home made tonic sounded pretty appealing.
The key ingredient of tonic water is cinchona bark - that's where the quinine comes from, as well as the distinctive bitter taste (except in supermarket tonic water, where the flavour all comes from numbers). The bitterness is offset with citrus, lemongrass, allspice and sometimes coriander or juniper, and then sweetened and made into a syrup that can be mixed with soda water (we recently purchased a SodaStream, which is saving us a fortune in fizzy water and plastic bottles).
It tastes so good! Sort of like a combination of tonic water and bitters, but less sweet and more refreshing. And just a quarter-cup of bark made over a litre of syrup, which in turn makes LOTS of tonic water. We have it most nights just on its own with a wedge of lime, but it is also very good with gin.