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Try the espresso tonic! This refreshing bubbly drink stars the unlikely combination of tonic water and coffee.

Espresso tonic
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We’re avid followers of drink trends as two expert home mixologists and baristas, 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 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. It’s 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 was invented 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’s 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:

  • 1 doubleshot espresso
  • 4 ounces (½ cup) tonic water
  • Lemon or orange wedge, to garnish
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 an espresso shot at home. Here are the top methods:

More about 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, so it’s 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! Grab a highball glass and do the following:

  • Add the tonic water first, then pour the espresso on top. This avoids the foam that occurs if they’re added to the glass in the reverse order.
  • 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, but it truly works in any season as an 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.

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Espresso tonic

Espresso Tonic


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

Description

Try the espresso tonic! This refreshing bubbly drink stars the unlikely combination of tonic water and coffee.


Ingredients

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

Instructions

  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.

Notes

We personally use this espresso machine.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Coffee Drink
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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1 Comment

  1. Sabrina says:

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