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This 2-Ingredient Espresso Tonic recipe pairs rich, freshly brewed espresso with sweet and bubbly tonic water for a refreshing and invigorating coffee recipe that’s a great way to cool off while getting a caffeine buzz! Garnish with a slice of citrus for an even brighter burst of flavor!
An espresso tonic tastes like a sip of sweet and subtle heaven. It’s a light and fizzy drink that packs the flavor punch and caffeine of freshly brewed espresso with the delightful citrus-scented sweetness of tonic water.
Read on to see how easy it is to make this two-ingredient, non-alcoholic drink recipe!
Ingredients for this recipe
- Espresso – Freshly brewed espresso from a machine, Moka pot, or instant espresso powder! I love my Nespresso machine and use it daily.
- Tonic Water – That sweet and bitter bubbly soft drink that’s so common in mixed drinks. You’ll be able to find a variety of brands in most grocery store soda or mixer aisles.
- Sweetener – This is totally optional but if you want even more sweetness than just what the tonic water provides, you can add a splash of simple syrup to the drink before serving.
- Citrus – I love garnishing this espresso tonic with a wedge of lemon or lime to highlight the citrus notes of the tonic.
What is tonic water?
Tonic water is a soft drink that was originally created as a preventative treatment for malaria. Who knew?! Now, it’s most commonly used in mixers in cocktails such as a gin and tonic or vodka tonic.
Tonic water consists of soda water, quinine, and often a sweetener to help balance out the bitterness of the quinine. There is no alcohol in tonic water so this recipe makes for a great mocktail to enjoy while celebrating!
Is tonic water the same as club soda?
In short: no
They’re both common mixers for drink recipes and mocktails, but they are not the same thing.
As described above, tonic water is carbonated water that has quinine (and sometimes sweeteners) mixed into it.
Club soda, on the other hand, is just regular water that is manufactured to have carbonation (and sometimes minerals) added to it.
It should also be noted: club soda and sparkling mineral water are not the same. Club soda is manufactured to have bubbles (and oftentimes flavors) in it whereas sparkling mineral water is naturally carbonated and mineralized.
How to Make an Espresso Tonic
This is just a quick overview, find the full recipe below in the recipe card!
- Brew the espresso. And let it cool for a minute or two. Mix in your sweetner now if using.
- Prepare the glass. Fill a serving glass with ice while the espresso cools.
- Add the tonic. Normally, drinks are finished with a splash of this mixer, but this espresso tonic recipe is mainly tonic water so it’s the base of the recipe.
- Top with espresso. After you’ve let it cool for a minute or two to avoid melting the ice or losing all the carbonation from the tonic water.
- Garnish with citrus. A wedge of lemon, lime, or orange is a perfect pairing with the sweetness of tonic water and richness of espresso.
- Enjoy! An espresso tonic is perfect for any occasion – brunch, celebrations, or an afternoon pick me up!
Alternative Serving Ideas
Coffee Ice Cubes – want to enjoy this iced espresso drink without having it get watered down? Serve it over homemade coffee ice cubes!
Add Alcohol – add a shot of Kahlua or coffee liqueur for a fun happy hour cocktail.
Sweeten with Simple Syrup – If you’d prefer an even sweeter sip, add a teaspoon or two of homemade simple syrup. My vanilla simple syrup recipe would add another layer of delicious flavor!
Make it Decaf – if you’re sensitive to caffeine (I am!) or want to enjoy this drink in the evening you can make it with decaf espresso to avoid the coffee jitters.
A Dash of Bitters - if you make a lot of Old Fashioneds or have a jar of bitters in your alcohol cabinet, add a dash or two to offer another layer of aromatics to the drink.
Espresso Tonic Recipe Tips
Serve immediately – Unlike a batch of cold brew coffee, this is a coffee drink that is really best enjoyed immediately when made. You could make a big batch of espresso tonics, but I don’t recommend it. You risk the tonic water going flat and the ice melting if left for too long.
Play with Ratios – If you want more of a coffee flavor, try using two or three shots of espresso to top off your tonic water. You can also use less tonic water per one shot of espresso for a smaller drink overall.
Liquid Sweeteners are Best – If you’re going to be adding sweetener to your espresso tonic, it’s best to use a liquid sweetener such as simple syrup, honey, or agave. Granulated sugar and sweeteners will be harder to incorporate into the liquid.
Stirred, Not Shaken – When you pour the espresso on top of the tonic water and ice, give it a gentle stir to incorporate. But not too much! And certainly don’t shake these together in a cocktail shaker. The tonic water will lose all its carbonation and you’ll be left with a flat, deflated drink. No one wants that!
Other espresso drinks you might enjoy
- Iced Vanilla Latte
- Dirty Chai Latte
- Maple Latte
- Pistachio Latte
- Add a shot of espresso to my iced chai latte with pumpkin cream cold foam!
I sure hope you enjoy this simple, two ingredient espresso tonic recipe!
Watch the Recipe Video!
2 Ingredient Espresso Tonic
- Espresso Maker optional
- Serving Glass
- 1 ounce espresso
- 1 teaspoon simple syrup (or other liquid sweetener), optional
- 6 ounces tonic water
- Lemon wedge, for serving
- Brew your shot of espresso and set aside to cool slightly. If using a liquid sweetener, such as 1 teaspoon of simple syrup, stir it into the espresso now.
- Fill a serving glass with ice and add 6 ounces of tonic water. Pour espresso over top.
- Stir gently, garnish with a citrus wedge, and enjoy immediately!
- Refer to post for recipe tips and substitutions!