1. Bangkok Soda (Siamese Tonic) BK Pick!
We love this one. By substituting quinine for citrus peel, the Bangkok Soda team have produced an unconventional tonic with a bitterness closer to that of grapefruit. You almost don’t need a garnish to go with this soda.
2. Fever Tree (Premium Indian) Runner Up
Second behind Bangkok soda only because it’s a tad too sweet. Fever Tree is smooth on the way down and doesn’t leave an aftertaste, which makes it a perfect pick for those who enjoy a heavy-handed, botanical garnish. An “easy-drinking” tonic.
Get it at: Most gin bars in Bangkok
Taken straight, it tastes like a milder—and by that we mean nicer—version of Schweppes. Pair it with gin, though, and the stuff shines, its sharp finish folding nicely together with the juniper. A classic tonic for a classic G&T.
4. 1724 (Traditional)
Like lemonade when measured against its competitors. We’d drink this one on its own, but with its light fizz and sweet finish, it’s not our pick for a crisp cocktail. A tonic for G&T newbies.
5. Lamb & Watt (Traditional)
Tastes like Sprite and smells like ginger ale. There’s an unusual tamarindy flavor to it, too, which could actually pair well with a rosemary garnish. Without the necessary bitterness, though, the flavors can wash out under a strong gin.
Schweppes gets a lot of hate from purists for being too bubbly and having a chemical finish. That’s all true. It’s also cheap, widely available and, honestly, not too bad once you’re three drinks in. The everyman’s tonic.
Get it at: Everywhere.
7. Fentimans (Traditional)
This is too much like flat manao soda. It’s sour and sharp on the finish. Mix it with gin and it tastes like mouthwash and reminds us of drinking G&Ts along Sukhumvit Soi 11 (not a good thing).
8. East Imperial (Old World Tonic)
Like watered-down corn syrup with an artificial aftertaste. The texture’s almost soupy. Combined with gin, it makes for a strong G&T that reminds us of the stuff we were downing in our university days when we didn’t know any better.
Get it at: It’s currently hard to find, but a new distributor is working to make it available at speciality bars around Bangkok.
9. Thomas Henry (Traditional) Yuck!
Is this tonic? This cotton candy juice had our tasters washing out their mouths. Gin doesn’t save it.
*Tonics were tasted blind by BK staff, neat first and then with Tanqueray Gin.
1881 by Water Library. Groove@CentralWorld, Rama 1 Rd., 061-825-7348, 095-072-7777
A Bar. 37-38/F, Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park, 199 Sukhumvit Soi 22, 02-059-5555
Iron Balls. Parklane Sukhumvit Soi 63, 02-714-2269,Sukhumvit Soi 45, 02-662-4478
Junker and Bar. 454 Suan Phlu Soi 1, 085-100-3608
Just a Drink Maybe. 44/3 Thonglor Soi 1, 02-023-7285
La Monita. 888/25-26 Phloen Chit Rd., 02-650-9581
Mikeller. 26 Ekkamai Soi 10, 02-381-9891
Teens of Thailand. 3/F, Siam Discovery Rama 1 Rd.
Vesper. 10/15 Convent Rd., 02-235-2777