FOODIES WEST.COM         
 Q TONIC:
June 2015 Issue / Vol. 3, No. 12                                                                                             
Is your tonic water a true tonic?












      
Chef de Cuisine
Richard Garcia


      
Chef/Restaurateur/
Sommelier/Farmer
Amy Binkley


      
June 2015
Chef's Larder

     
Chef Roberto
Madrid's Kitchen


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Q Tonic, Brooklyn, New York

After spending a warm summer evening with good friends drinking great gin, Jordan Silbert dropped down a rabbit hole. This came as a result of reading the label on the commercial brand of tonic water mixer. Silbert discovered it had loads of high fructose corn syrup and quinine flavoring. He found likewise after researching other major brands. So, Silbert sourced some cinchona bark, which contains quinine, to make his own tonic water. That’s when he descended into the rabbit hole. “I was going to make a better mousetrap,” Silbert said, “and I was having a blast. Then I got so OCD. I just got caught up in it. I was making version after version after version after version to make it exactly how I wanted it. I ended up going down this rabbit hole.” Back at ground zero, his kitchen, a mess was accruing with pots on the boil, thermometers, and piles of cinchona bark. His roommate complained. “It was ridiculous,” Silbert admitted. “In retrospect, I’m really glad I did that. At the time, it felt crazy. I spent a lot of time in that rabbit hole. I looked up and thought, Geez, I spent a lot of time on this.” A lot of time, meaning “six months to a year.” He started in spring and experimented through the summer and fall. “And then I got distracted in the winter,” Silbert said. “When it got cold, I started drinking bourbon and forgot about it.” The bigger project awaited: Silbert discovered how big a difference the bubbles make.