What Are Fever-Tree Tonic Waters and Sodas?

How Fever-Tree Tonic Waters and Sodas Are Made

Fever-Tree Tonic Waters
The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

Fever-Tree produces premium soda waters with all-natural ingredients. The star of the company's portfolio are some of the best tonic waters you'll find. Crisp, clean, and made with natural quinine, they're the key to an excellent gin and tonic. Fever-Tree makes equally impressive ginger beers, ginger ales, and other lightly flavored sodas as well. All of Fever-Tree's sodas are designed specifically for cocktails and mixed drinks but stand up on their own, too.

What Is Fever-Tree Made From?

When Fever-Tree released their first tonic water in 2005, it brought much-needed attention to the quality of the sodas used in mixed drinks. The founders' theory was that if the majority of a gin and tonic (and similar highballs) is soda, it should be as top-shelf as the liquor that it's mixed with. This was the start of Fever-Tree Premium Mixers.

The ingredients that go into Fever-Tree sodas are sourced from locations that specialize in that product. The quinine used in the tonics comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo's cinchona bark grown on what is known locally as "fever trees" (Cinchona ledgeriana). Three types of ginger are sourced from the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Cochin, India. The Tahiti and key limes, as well as bitter oranges, from Mexico, Sicilian lemons, Italian blood oranges and apricots, Madagascar vanilla, and Sri Lankan cinnamon are famous worldwide. Some of the sodas also include elderflower and rhubarb from England, raspberries from Washington State and Scotland, French lemon thyme, and Japanese yuzu.

Each soda uses a carbonated spring water base and does not include artificial sweeteners, opting for real sugar (cane or fruit) instead. For that punch of flavor that makes all soda great (commercial and homemade, alike), citric acid is common—some use other natural acids such as tartaric or ascorbic acid.

Fever-Tree Tonic Waters

If you were under the impression that tonic water is just tonic water, Fever-Tree's collection of tonics will quickly change your mind. They now produce a number of tonics, each with a unique profile, and occasionally release limited editions as well.

The trick to developing a great tonic is finding a balance of flavors. Quinine is a product of the cinchona tree's bark, which is harvested on an eight-year cycle. It is the source for that bitter kick in tonic water, and to have a successful tonic it must be counteracted by other ingredients. In the case of Fever-Tree's tonics, citrus and sugars are sent in to do the job.

  • Premium Indian Tonic Water: The flagship of the Fever-Tree lineup, this tonic continues to impress. Its taste is marked with a fresh floral, snappy citrus, and perfect bitterness that's an ideal companion for gin and other light spirits. It also makes a nice lime and tonic when you want to skip the liquor.
  • Refreshingly Light Premium Indian Tonic Water: The citrus, sweet, and bitter in Fever-Tree's Indian Tonic is here, but it has just 40 calories per serving. To cut the calories, they employ fructose (fruit sugar) rather than an artificial sweetener so it tastes nothing like the average diet soda.
  • Mediterranean Tonic Water: This tonic was designed with the vodka drinker in mind, and it makes the vodka tonic something to celebrate. It uses essential oils of flowers, fruit, and herbs from the Mediterranean, including lemon thyme from Provence, France. It is delicate, balanced, distinctly floral, and less dry, making it a viable substitute for lemon-lime or club sodas.
  • Elderflower Tonic Water: Elderflower cocktails are lovely and this tonic offers that fresh, floral taste without the need for a liqueur or syrup. It pairs equally well with gin and vodka and makes some delightful nonalcoholic drinks for spring and summer.
  • Lemon Tonic Water: Flavored with Sicilian lemons, this tonic has a bright, tart taste that will add a spark to any summer cocktail. It was previously called Bitter Lemon.
  • Aromatic Tonic Water: An interesting twist on tonic, this one adds angostura bark, ginger, cardamom, pimento berries, and vanilla to the quinine base. The spices give it an intriguing taste (and lovely pink color), and it's similar to topping a glass of tonic with a healthy dose of aromatic bitters.
  • Citrus Tonic Water: Tequila and tonic do not typically mix well but this tonic water is designed to fix that. Using two varieties of Mexican lime along with bitter orange, the citrus twist is a welcome addition to any drinker's stock of tonic.

Fever-Tree Ginger Sodas

Fever-Tree produces two styles of ginger soda. They retain the quality of the tonics and all of the ingredients are natural, including three different gingers. From the Ivory Coast, green ginger is used to add lightness and surprising notes of lime. The Nigerian ginger is intense and complex in both flavor and aroma, and the ginger sourced from Cochin, India is earthy with intriguing notes that resemble chocolate.

  • Ginger Ale: This ginger ale is snappy and sweet. Where ginger ales tend to be sweet or dry, this one finds a balance between the two. That's likely attributed to the varieties of ginger used as well as the cane sugar. Sweet citrus notes add to its complexity. It's perfect for whiskey highballs and drinks with other dark spirits. The ginger ale is also available in Fever-Tree's Refreshingly Light range. When you're up for a flavor adventure, try the Spiced Orange and Smoky ginger ales.
  • Ginger Beer: Snappy, sweet, and a ginger beer that will not melt into the background, this brew is bold, but not overpowering; spicy, but not bitterly so. It shows ginger at its best and begs to be in your next dark and stormy and Moscow mule. There is also a Refreshingly Light Ginger Beer.

Other Fever-Tree Sodas

To round out the Fever-Tree line, there are more sodas to explore. They are equally interesting and worthy of your favorite cocktail recipes.

  • Club Soda: Though it may seem like a simple mixer, it is hard to find a club soda that makes you step back and take notice. This one does just that. The soft spring water and bicarbonate of soda create a delicate background, and the effervescence is lively. It's a delicate soda with the most subtle of citrus and floral notes. Delightfully clean and refreshing, it can go into any cocktail that calls for soda water.
  • Sparkling Lemon: Think of this soda as a top-shelf sparkling lemonade. Flavored with Sicilian lemon juice and oils from the fruit's peel, it is bright, refreshing, and gently carbonated. Not too sweet, it's easy to drink on its own and can be used in place of lemon-lime soda.
  • Sparkling Pink Grapefruit: Fans of the paloma will find that this grapefruit soda takes the fruity tequila cocktail to a new level. It's perfectly carbonated and made with Florida pink grapefruits for a tart, sweet, floral taste.

How to Drink Fever-Tree

The mark of any great drink ingredient—whether it's a liquor or mixer—is that you should be able to enjoy it straight. Though they're formulated for cocktails, you can certainly do that with any bottle of Fever-Tree. Keep them cold in the fridge and serve them over ice or drink straight out of the bottle for a refreshing soda.

Of course, they are mixers and will do well in any cocktail you want to make. Generally, the tonics are best reserved for light spirits while the ginger sodas are great with darker ones. It's always good to break the rules, though! Fever-Tree's variety lets you experiment and find your perfect pairing: Try gin and ginger ale, whiskey and tonic, or rum with the Sparkling Lemon. Some will work better than others but all of these drinks are easy to mix up so you have nothing to lose.

Cocktail Recipes

When you have a cocktail recipe that calls for one of these styles of soda, Fever-Tree will not let you down. Soda is a key mixer in any bar and there are many mixed drinks to enjoy.

Where to Buy

When first launched, Fever-Tree was rather difficult to find but that is no longer the case. The most popular tonics, the ginger sodas, and club soda are commonly found in grocery and liquor stores among other mixers. Since they're nonalcoholic, online stores can also ship them without the restrictions placed on alcohol. It is a premium brand and does cost a bit more than the average soda.

Because no one wants a drink with stale soda, Fever-Tree offers small 200-milliliter bottles (about 6 1/2 ounces). This is the perfect amount for a single cocktail so you don't have to worry about your soda going flat in the fridge. When needed, some of the sodas are available in 500-milliliter bottles (almost 17 ounces) though these are not as common in stores.