Coffee and Tonic Water Just May Be Your New Favorite Summer Drink

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Bex Walton)

There’s only one thing better than iced coffee: iced coffee with bubbles. When it’s hot out, who doesn’t want a caffeinated, fizzy drink?

What kind of bubbles are we talking about? Tonic water, of course. While tonic and coffee might seem odd together, it’s a combination that has risen to popularity in the specialty coffee world, providing a refreshing, caffeinated kick to drinkers in search for something different than just a regular cup of coffee or espresso.

You may have seen an espresso tonic on the menu at specialty coffee shops. It’s as simple as an espresso poured into a glass with tonic water and ice. The result is not only tasty — citrusy, crisp, and refreshing — but also beautiful, as the espresso sinks into the tonic water.

Credit for originating the drink is often given to Swedish roaster Koppi, who has been serving their Kaffe Tonic for several years now, but these days you can find them at specialty cafes around the world.

Drinks made with cold brew coffee and tonic water are also making an appearance, like Stumptown’s Cold Brew Tonic, made with Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Cold Brew Concentrate, and Luxardo maraschino cherries, which it released this summer.

For at-home coffee brewers, a cold brew tonic might just be a little simpler than the classic espresso tonic, and now that we have been spending all this time talking about coffee and tonic water, I bet you are wondering one thing: Can you make a coffee gin and tonic? Oh yes, you certainly can. A boozy afternoon drink can be yours with this simple recipe from Sandows London.

If you are making coffee and tonic drinks at home, be sure to use fruitier beans, like stuff from Ethiopia or Kenya. These will pair well with the citrus flavors in the tonic water. If you are making your drink with a cold brew concentrate, don’t dilute your concentrate with water first; just use the tonic water directly.

Bubbly iced coffee? Might just be your new addiction.

Updated from post originally published July 20, 2015.