The espresso tonic is a refreshing bubbly drink starring the unlikely combination of tonic water and coffee!

Espresso tonic

Here at A Couple Cooks we’re avid followers of drink trends, and this one recently caught our eye: the Espresso Tonic! This unlikely combination of tonic water and espresso comes from Scandinavia, and it’s the perfect summer drink for coffee lovers. The sweet and bitter notes of tonic water accentuate the rich, bitter coffee, and the effervescent bubbles and hint of citrus add bright, refreshing notes. This one is a big favorite around here and a must-try for any coffee lover!

What is an espresso tonic?

The Espresso Tonic is a drink that pairs tonic water and a double shot of espresso. It originated in 2007 in Oslo, then spread to Sweden and became popular in the mid-2010s in the US in barista competitions. The drink is simple and you’ll need only a few ingredients to whip it up at home. It tastes like a true marriage of the two liquids: rich, bitter coffee that’s diluted by the sweet and bubbly notes of tonic (versus the coffee soda, which tastes like bubbly coffee). Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Espresso (doubleshot)
  • Tonic water (½ cup or 4 ounces)
  • Lemon or orange wedge
Espresso tonic

Ways to make espresso

The most important part of an espresso tonic? A great espresso! There are several methods for homemade espresso: our favorite is using a high quality espresso machine. But there are a few other ways to make a high quality espresso shot. Here are the top methods:

  • Espresso machine: The best way to make espresso at home is with an espresso machine (here’s how).
  • Portable espresso maker: portable espresso maker is a cheaper way to make great espresso at home.
  • Moka Pot (aka Bialetti): Moka Pot Coffee is very strong coffee, not technically espresso. But it works great for an espresso tonic if you have one!
  • French press: This French Press espresso is very good, and a nice tool for espresso if you have one.

What is tonic water?

Tonic water is a carbonated water that contains quinine and is lightly sweetened. Its flavor is bubbly, bitter, sweet and sour, making it an excellent mixer for drinks. Quinine was historically prescribed as a medicine to fight malaria, and mixing it with carbonated water and sugar helped to mask its bitter flavor. It first sold commercially in 1858.

Today the level of quinine is much lower than historical tonic water, and is safe to consume. It’s used in many classic cocktails like the Gin and Tonic and Vodka Tonic.

Espresso tonic

How to make an espresso tonic

An espresso tonic is as simple as pouring together two ingredients, but there a few things to note:

  • Add the tonic water first, then pour the espresso on top. This avoids the foam that occurs if they’re added the other way around.
  • Run a lemon or orange slice around the rim of the glass. The citrus adds another dimension to the rich, bitter coffee.

And that’s it! The espresso tonic is primed to be the perfect drink for summer. It’s the ideal afternoon pick me up or non-alcoholic cocktail. Let us know what you think in the comments below!

More coffee drinks

Are you a coffee lover like we are? Our Barista Series shows you how to make every type of coffee drink. Here are a few favorites to try:

This espresso tonic recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Espresso tonic

Espresso Tonic

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The espresso tonic is a refreshing bubbly drink starring the unlikely combination of tonic water and coffee!


  • 2 ounces expresso (double shot), cooled slightly
  • 4 ounces (½ cup) tonic water
  • Lemon or orange wedge, for serving


  1. Make the espresso, using your favorite method.
  2. Add ice to an 8-ounce glass. Add the tonic water and gently pour the espresso on the top.
  3. Run the lemon slice around the edge of the glass, then add it to the glass as a garnish.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Coffee Drink
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Espresso tonic

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 Comment

  1. interesting, I’m about out of creative coffee drink ideas, so thank you, this is a nice cool coffee-espresso drink to try