Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Coffee and… TONIC?! Yeah It’s a Thing – How to Drink It Properly & Why It’s Actually Good

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Yes, you read that right – combining coffee and tonic is a huge thing overseas but not so much here.

It even comes premixed in a can now – East Imperial have even mixed it with a bougie grapefruit vibe – and one of New Zealand’s top mixologists Mikey Ball says it’s time that Aotearoa gets on board with this new drinks trend – pronto! Here’s the down low of how to get amongst summer’s chicest drink.

Mikey Ball

Where did the coffee and tonic trend start to take off?

The origin of the Coffee & Tonic dates back to 2007 when The Koppi coffee roasters cafe in Helsingborg, Sweden first put the item ‘Kaffe Tonic’ on the menu. The combo was popularised predominantly in Scandinavia to start with, but soon after its reach stretched to the USA and other parts of the world with strong coffee cultures. We actually dabbled  with this combo in 2015 with  a local coffee roaster, but it may have been a bit before its time in New Zealand at that point.

New Zealanders love coffee – why have we been slow to jump on the bandwagon?

Traditional styles of coffee drinking and maybe a lack of education have played a major part in the slow uptake here. Coffee on the whole is part of a day-to-day ritual, and these are the hardest to shake when it comes to stepping out of our comfort zones. We have focussed Coffee & Tonic around rethinking how we look at our coffee experiences now and the patterns we drink them in. Not only is the format drastically different but we also think the flavour combination of quinine, citrus oil and coffee is something that needs celebrating as it’s delicious.

Coffee and Tonic. In a can. Now we’ve seen everything!

At first glance, it doesn’t look like something that should go together – why is it a good match?

There is quite a bit to think about with regards to the balance here, and it can go wrong when you use too much of one element. The main reason Coffee & Tonic does combine harmoniously together is all in the balance of bitterness, acidity, and texture. Both quinine and coffee are naturally bitter and the citrus oils bring acidity as-well as a luscious texture. To go the extra mile on this and create a velvet-like drinking experience, we played with the level of carbonation and treated the coffee with nitrogen to emphasise its creaminess and oils. Overall we looked to create something both luxurious and refreshing at the same time.

We all love an Espresso Martini, but how else can you incorporate coffee into delicious cocktails?

Coffee is super versatile in drinks, it can be used as an alternative bittering agent, a sweetener or to even help with emulsification and foaming. Coffee beans can provide warmth and spice to your old fashioned or manhattans, provide freshness and texture alongside fresh fruit like pineapple and grapefruit,  but it’s also well known alongside cream and light spirits for those luxurious dessert style cocktails

What do you think your ‘drink of the summer’ will be?

So much potential but a light refreshing Sweet Vermouth with Coffee & Tonic in the afternoon, otherwise a nice Dark Rum with Coffee & Tonic in the evening for sure.

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