Q Tonic Water: Dressing Up Gin Cocktails, or Wasting a Bar Budget?

Q Tonic Water

Have you heard of Q Tonic? $7 [or more] for a bottle of tonic water? Why? Why Not? Looks like a job for We Try It So you Don’t Have To.

As any good coffee nerd knows, making coffee with crappy water makes crappy coffee, regardless of the beans, the grind, or brewing expertise.

So it’s hard to disagree that Q Tonic founder Jordan Silbert was definitely onto something when he realized mixing crappy, high-fructose-corn-syrup-laden tonic with good gin was like pissing away good gin.

Top-shelf tonic water certainly has its place, and beverage enthusiasts would be hard pressed to disagree. No need to bury the headline: Q Tonic is really, really good. It’s refreshing, closer in spirit to S. Pellegrino or another nice mineral water than anything you’ll find in a 2-liter plastic container. The carbonation is more consistent, a lovely, fizzy tickle, not a sharp edged sort of mouth feel. It has a subtle sweetness with a hint of citrus (must be the agave). Its flavor complements whatever you are mixing it with, rather than takes it over.

But, dude, it’s seven bucks, at least at the only store that carries it in Osmosis HQ’s general geography. A casual perusal of Amazon.com reveals for the 750-ml size you might be ponying upwards of $10 for a bottle. If it were, say, twice as much as a 2-liter bottle of Coke, instead of about five times, one could chalk it up to paying for quality. But at the current price, it’s a question of cost/benefit analysis.

And then there’s the whole side issue of being part of a culture that periodically fetishizes simple pleasures, thus somehow tainting once- innocent treats like the donut (see: Krispy Kreme), or the chocolate bar (see: this review of a pricey bacon-enhanced chocolate bar), and furthering through either excessive gluttony or excessive pricing the worst part of American consumerism: conspicuous consumption. Yes, $7 or $10-plus for a bottle of tonic seems skirt that line.

The truth is, if you are consuming Q with high-quality, appropriate spirits, it’s worth it. Let’s do the dirty math on it. 750 milliliters = about 25 fluid ounces; a classic G&T needs about 4 oz of tonic, so you’re getting a smidge more than 6 cocktails worth of tonic water for your money, so you’re adding on about $1 to $1.70 per drink.

It would never be referred to as a “value proposition,” but it’s not a ripoff either, because hot damn it’s good. Let’s call it “special occasion spending.”

VERDICT: Used responsibly, it’s well worth it. We tried it, and so should you, cocktail aficionados.


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