Tonic Bar & Espresso, Fortitude Valley

Gin, gin, gin! Who likes gin?

Ed+bK bar reporter Alexander Stone amps up his spirits cred.

I have always been partial to a gin and tonic with a twist of lime but it’s never been my favorite spirit but, after three hours and 13 different gins samples, I have a new found respect for the spirit I always considered to be something Mum drank. (Thank you Alexander, love Mum x)

Hidden away up past Emporium in Fortitude Valley and down narrow Hyne Street is Tonic. It’s so out of the way you would be forgiven for not even knowing it was there. Using an old converted garage with beach chairs straight from your favorite beach trip out the front and lounge chairs, Tonic is a coffee shop during the day and a pumping cocktail bar by night.

With our amazingly knowledgeable bartender Matthew Colliard asking us if we were prepared to get drunk or even more drunk, I dived head first in to a drinking history lesson on gins. It started with the classic Bombay Sapphire and Hendricks right round to a flavorsome Lily Pilly.

I discovered that it is a myth that gin is the biggest depressant out of all alcohols ( I didn't notice any of us crying at any point), that at one stage gin was considered a working girl’s best friend and that it was part of a young British military officer’s training that he be able to create the perfect gin and tonic to help ward off malaria.

My favorite gin of the night, out of 13 sampled, was Gin Mare. With its olive and thyme after taste, it was different enough to attract my attention while still tasting like I always thought a gin should.

Then bartender Matthew made a flaming cocktail from his favourite gin which he artfully poured alight between two milk jugs, something I'm now sure to try and burn down a small portion of my home.  It was a different take on gin that reinforced its versatility as a cocktail spirit in my mind.

A long time James Bond fan, when we were offered a gin cocktail of choice to round off the night I picked a Dirty Martini (and yes, I know it’s not exactly what Bond drinks). Excellently crafted, I savoured it slowly while all present remarked about how much they all now enjoyed gin. I then stumbled off home to fight another day just as I'm sure British military officers used to do after a long night of practicing gin and tonic crafting.

Tonic offers gin flights for everybody to enjoy so go down and say hello to their awesome staff at one of latest offerings from Brisbane's growing bar scene.

Bottom line: Try a gin flight at tonic
Best tip: Trust your bartender


Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer: Ed+bK’s bar reporter was a guest of Tonic