The Espresso Tonic
A different way of drinking coffee
April 28, 2021
Here at Homeground Coffee Roasters, one of the first drinks that comes to mind on a hot day would be the espresso tonic,
The espresso tonic has the perfect balance of acidity and sweetness from the coffee, as well as the slight bitterness from the quinine constituent of tonic – giving rise to a bittersweet drink that is able to excite the palate without overwhelming the senses. Crisp and refreshing, it seems as though this drink was specially invented to give us our daily dose of much needed caffeine in the hot summer weather. And yet, the espresso tonic has its roots in Sweden, far from the tropics where hot weather perpetuates all year around.
This drink was first concocted at a coffee shop in Oslo some time in 2007, when a staff member mixed leftover tonic with espresso and simple syrup for a quick drink while closing the cafe for the day, in the process inadvertently creating one of the most delicious coffee drinks imaginable!
Not long after, Kaffe & Tonic became an official part of the menu of Koppi Roasters Cafe in the city of Helsingborg, Sweden, and the rest, as we can say, is now history. Since then, the appreciation for the espresso tonic worldwide has grown so large that the drink is now commonly found in not only specialty coffee shops, but also at coffee chains all around the world.
We serve our espresso tonics with bright, juicy single origin espressos, where the coffee has sufficient inherent fruitiness to complete the drink. However, that is not to say that you cannot enjoy an espresso tonic at home – in fact, our easy recipe for the espresso tonic requires just a simple shot of espresso and tonic water.
How to serve an espresso tonic at home
- 40ml of espresso
- 80-100ml of tonic water
- 80-100ml of ice, or till the top of the cup
- lemon / lime wedges (optional)
- simple syrup (optional)
- Scoop the ice into the cup and fill it with tonic water.
- Pour the espresso onto the ice cubes at the top of the drink slowly, to create a contrasting effect between the dark layer of espresso and the tonic underneath.
- Allow the tonic to mix with the espresso to form a thick, creamy layer of foam on top.
- Add lemon or lime wedges should you find the drink lacking a little in acidity and flavour; or simple syrup, to taste, should you find the drink lacking in sweetness.
The addition of lemon/lime wedges and simple syrup in this recipe is relative to your espresso tonic experience. It can help to elevate the espresso tonic in situations where its inherent flavours fall short, such as when the coffee is not sufficiently sweet, or where the tonic is too bitter. In such cases, varying either the addition of simple syrup or adding more citrus garnishes help to tie together what would otherwise be a slightly unbalanced cup.
Perhaps on the next bright and sunny day, you too will think about giving the espresso tonic a shot. We hope it will blow your mind, just like it did for us when we first tried it many years ago!