It took about nine months for Todd Thrasher to perfect his recipe for homemade tonic syrup. “I have it down now and it’s my absolute favorite,” he says. Cinchona bark powder (which contains tonic water’s signature quinine) can be purchased from the Dandelion Botanical Company (dandelionbotanical.com). Slideshow:More Gin Cocktails
Tonic Syrup In a large saucepan, bring 16 ounces water to a boil. Stir in 1/2 cup sugar until dissolved. Whisk in 1 tablespoon honey, 1/2 coarsely chopped lemongrass stalk (tender inner core only), 1/4 teaspoon dried lavender buds and 1/2 tablespoon cinchona bark powder. Simmer over low heat until reduced by half, about 45 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, then a fine coffee filter and finally through a paper coffee filter. Let cool, then add 1/2 ounce each of lemon juice and lime juice. Refrigerate the syrup for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 10 ounces.