While we were at the beach up in Provincetown, Mass. a few weeks ago, we popped into Perry's, a little deli and wine shop we like to visit when we're there. Besides booze, they sell a lot of premium food products -- think high end pastas, oils and pickles.
On the front table in the store, we saw these tiny little dark bottles, with beautiful white labels: "John's Premium Tonic Syrup."
We asked the owner about John's, and he started raving about how "it makes the best gin and tonic I've ever had."
We had to try it. So we picked up a bottle and hauled it back to our tiny little rental to give it a spin.
To use the syrup, you simply pour it over ice and then add gin and club soda (the ratio and recipe are on the bottle). Garnish and enjoy.
The gentleman at Perry's wasn't lying -- this makes a phenomenal gin and tonic. Instead of the astringent quinine taste of regular tonic, John's is full of subtler shades of herbal flavors*. (It also lacks the cloying sweet undertones of regular tonic water. Check the label on your tonic water -- you'll find a bunch of ingredients, including high-fructose corn syrup. That came as quite a shock to us when we first noticed it last year.)
So what's in it? According to the John's website, the ingredients are "Organic Agave Nectar, Cinchona bark, Citric Acid, Natural Oils, herbs, juice and spices."
After we'd enjoyed it so much on vacation, we had already decided that we absolutely had to tell The Bittens about it. (That's what we call you when you're not around -- we hope that's okay.)
But then we got home to find, among other things, the August issue of Saveur. And what do you know? There's a full-page feature on John's Premium Tonic Syrup. No good thing goes undiscovered!
The only downside? She ain't cheap. You can order from John's website, where one 4-oz. bottle is $7, plus shipping (you can get four bottles for $28 plus $5 for shipping). So this definitely falls into the "treat yo' self" category.
A little does go a fairly long way: Each little bottle can make about eight G&Ts. But perhaps you don't even need such justification -- perhaps you deserve a treat!
* We never receive compensation for a product we mention on The Bitten Word. From time to time, we do receive free samples of stuff that we may decide to write about, but we would always let you know that. Anyway, this isn't one of those times (in case you were wondering). As far as we know, John's has no idea who we are.