By Mike Augustyniak

Every Saturday, Mike Augustyniak picks up a new cocktail recipe from a local mixologist. This week, he visits Blue Henn and revises his opinion on the “love it or hate it” tonic with these two refreshing summer drinks.

Basil Lemonade

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1½ oz. gin or vodka (if gin, choose a milder, less juniper-forward, variety)
1 oz. Blue Henn Tonic Syrup
5 oz. lemonade
5 fresh basil leaves
Pinch of sugar

Muddle basil leaves in a highball glass with a pinch of sugar; fill glass with ice, and add gin or vodka, tonic, and lemonade; stir and enjoy.

Raspberry Tonic

2 oz. vodka
¾ oz. Blue Henn Tonic Syrup
4-5 oz. club soda
10 raspberries

Muddle raspberries in glass; fill with ice and add vodka, tonic, and club soda.

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Taste Test

Tonic is made by steeping bark from the cinchona tree, releasing bitter-flavored quinine; which, itself, was the first effective treatment for malaria in Western medicine. More recently quinine has been mass-produced synthetically for most commercially available tonic waters.

Not being a big fan of the taste of quinine, when I initially tried Blue Henn Tonic Syrup this spring, I was expecting to not like it. Boy, was I wrong. The proprietary combination of real quinine, and herbs like lemongrass, lavender, and citrus, lends a balanced, pleasant & mild flavor to (what I find to be) typically a pucker-inducing drink.

The Basil Lemonade and Raspberry tonic make use of locally available fresh fruits & herbs to make a refreshing and light addition to summertime picnics and parties. As the tonic syrup concentrate contains no alcohol whatsoever, both recipes can be made non-alcoholic by leaving out the gin and vodka.

About Blue Henn

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With a passion for creative cooking and supporting local agriculture, friends Julia Brosz and Kari Madore founded the company with a mission to elevate the mixed drink experience. Blue Henn Artisan Cocktail Syrups are handmade with the finest ingredients with a single goal in mind: delicious, authentic taste.

Mike Augustyniak