Cold Brew Tonic

This cold brew tonic is a delicious and refreshing coffee drink with cold brew coffee, botanical tonic water, and a hint of citrus.

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Since last year, cold brew tonic has been on the menu wherever I go. It was new to me and it seems to be a trendy summer coffee drink.

If you missed these coffee popsicles or still prefer coffee in a cup rather than popsicle-shaped, this cold brew tonic is a drink you must try this summer. It’s easy to make, refreshing, subtly sweet, and a great summer pick-me-up drink.

I have tried a few different ones, mainly in Germany, and this recipe is currently my favorite. Side note, I still don’t enjoy a regular hot cup of coffee. But something about cold coffee or coffee in desserts is much more appealing. 

WHAT IS A COLD BREW TONIC?

It’s hardly a recipe because a cold brew is a mixture of cold brew concentrate served over ice cubes and then topped with chilled tonic water. This drink is often beautifully presented with a slice of orange or lemon/lime.

Some café’s serve a cold brew tonic made with espresso, which is equally delicious but much stronger in terms of coffee flavor. If you are not a huge coffee drinker (or not a coffee drinker at all), or you prefer a less acidic coffee drink, making a cold brew tonic with cold brew coffee is the best option. 

The sparkling chilled tonic water adds a beautiful depth of flavor to the cold brew. You can use different tonic waters, and they will all add another bitter element to the drink. I love to use Fever Tree tonic water as it is available in all supermarkets and its botanical flavors pair beautifully with the cold brew. 

To a cold brew tonic, a bit of lime or lemon juice is usually added, but that is optional (I highly recommend it).

As you can imagine, this drink with cold brew coffee, botanical tonic water, and a hint of citrus is an irresistible summer drink.

A glass coffee pot filled half with dark coffee and a dark bottle with cold brew coffee concentrate next to each other with a light brown backdrop

COLD BREW TONIC INGREDIENTS

While this recipe is as simple as can be, there are some specific ingredients you will need to make the best cold brew tonic. 

Ingredients for cold brew tonic on a plate with lime slices and a light brown background and a glass with ice cubes with the text of the ingredients next to it


Cold brew coffee or cold brew concentrate
I don’t recommend espresso for this recipe, but cold brew coffee or cold brew concentrate. You can make your cold brew concentrate at home or use a store-bought one. 

The difference between cold brew concentrate and cold brew coffee is the amount of ground coffee used relative to the amount of water, making cold brew concentrate stronger than cold brew.

It can be tricky how much store-bought concentrate is best for this recipe. I used a store-bought version, but it’s a brand I have used before, so I know how strong the concentrate was. If in doubt, use less concentrate, as you can always add a bit more later if needed. 

Chilled tonic water
I have tried a few different brands, but the classic Fever Tree tonic water was the one I enjoyed the most for this recipe. It matches well with cold brew coffee or cold brew coffee concentrate. 

Lime/lemon or orange
This drink is refreshing with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, but you can also use fresh orange juice. I love all possible citrus variations for this recipe. And serving it with a slice of citrus makes this drink also look very inviting.

Ice cubes
This coffee drink comes together with ice cubes. Fill your serving glass almost entirely with ice cubes. 

COLD BREW TONIC VARIATIONS

There are a few delicious variations on this drink which are all worth a try.

Experiment with your coffee beans. If you always use Arabica, try Robusta (much stronger coffee), Excelsa, or Liberica coffee.

Add a sweetener to balance out the acidic and citrus flavors. I also highly recommend trying out this sweet version. 

For an extra shot of caffeine use half cold brew coffee and half espresso. You might want to sweeten it a bit with maple sweetener. 

A splash of coconut milk is also delicious, especially when using lime.

If you are not a fan of tonic water, try sparkling water with a sweetener instead.

On one menu in the Netherlands, they combined Coca-Cola with cold brew coffee and lime juice. Very interesting!

A glass with cold brew tonic with ice cubes and a slice of lime seen from slightly above on a light grey backdrop

FINAL TIPS

Don’t be shy to add a sweetener. It’s much more common than you think. I prefer maple syrup when using a sweetener. A little will go a long way in this recipe. Add a sweetener to balance the flavors, but don’t overrule the tonic and coffee flavors.

Alternatively, you can use different tonic water. Try to experiment with what you like. There are many tonic water flavors available. The best overall tonic is Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water and the most budget-friendly is Schweppes Tonic Water.

A few tonic water versions are explicitly for gins, which would not be the most fantastic match with coffee; an example is Fentimans Tonic Water. This cold brew tonic will not taste good if your tonic water is not a good match with coffee. 

This drink looks refreshing and inviting with a slice of lime, but you can also serve it as a ‘’cocktail’’ with a cherry. A bit like in this recipe, but then without the paper umbrella.

A glass with cold brew tonic on a white plate with a light brown backdrop and a few lime slices next to it

More Summer Drink Recipes

Does this make you crave more summer drink recipes? Here are a few to try:

I hope you will give this cold brew tonic a try! Don’t forget to tag me on Facebook or Instagram @thegreencreator + #thegreencreator! Or leave a comment below and rate this recipe. It really helps me out if you do!

A glass with cold brew tonic with ice cubes and a slice of lime with text on the top saying cold brew tonic
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A glass with cold brew tonic with ice cubes and a slice of lime

Cold Brew Tonic

  • Author: Bianca
  • Total Time: 3
  • Yield: 1
  • Category: drink

Description

This cold brew tonic is a delicious and refreshing coffee drink with cold brew coffee, botanical tonic water, and a hint of citrus.


Ingredients

For mildly strong cold brew tonic, use the ratio:

• 1/4 cup ( 75 ml) chilled cold brew concentrate
• 1/3 cup (175 ml) chilled tonic water
• ice cube to fill the serving glass almost fully
• fresh lime slice (or lemon or orange slice)
• a squeeze of lime juice

For medium strong cold brew tonic, use the ratio:

• 1/3 cup (75 ml) chilled cold brew concentrate
• 3/4 cup (175 ml) chilled tonic water
• ice cube to fill the serving glass almost fully
• fresh lime slice (or lemon or orange slice)
• a squeeze of lime juice

For a much stronger cold brew, use the ratio:

• 1/2 cup (125 ml) chilled cold brew concentrate
• 1/2 cup (125 ml) chilled tonic water
• ice cube to fill the serving glass almost fully
• fresh lime slice (or lemon or orange slice)
• a squeeze of lime juice


Instructions

To a serving glass, add the chilled cold brew concentrate. A 13 oz (380 ml) glass is suitable for this recipe. For a smaller serving glass (6 oz / 175 ml), half the recipe. 

Add the chilled tonic water and a few drops of lime juice to the cold brew concentrate. 

Stir briefly. 

Fill the glass with ice cubes.

Add a squeeze of lime juice.

Serve with a fresh slice of lime, lemon, or orange. 


Notes

Add a bit of maple syrup to sweeten the cold brew tonic if needed. 

Keywords: drink, coffee, cold brew tonic,

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