· Stirring utensils
· Colander or strainer
· Coffee filters or reusable fine coffee filter basket
· Bottles for storing finished product
· Tonic Concentrate
· 4 cups water
· 3 cups cane sugar
· 3 Tbsp cinchona powder (the source of quinine; look for it online)
· 6 Tbsp food-grade citric acid (available at natural-food stores or where cheese-making supplies are sold)
· 2 limes, zested and juiced
· 2 stalks (leaves and stem) lemongrass, chopped coarsely
In a saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat. Add the cinchona powder, citric acid, lemongrass, lime zest, and lime juice. Stir gently and then simmer for twenty-five to thirty minutes, until the powder appears to dissolve and the syrup is thin and runny. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool a bit. Strain the large pieces out through a colander or a coarse strainer. This is the time-consuming part. Pour the syrup through a fine filter to remove the remaining cinchona dust. Since the powder is very fine, this takes a long time, and the sticky syrup can be very messy if it spills. To speed up the process, filter the syrup initially thorugh several overlapping layers of moistened and wrung-out cheesecloth, rinse the cheesecloth, and do it again. The more layers of cheesecloth, rinse the cheesecloth, and do it again. The more layers of cheesecloth, the more powder will be filtered out. For the final filtering, pour the syrup into a moist coffee filter (preferably supported in a single-cup-type filter contraption or a funnel) until all of the debris has been filtered out. You may have to filter the syrup several times and change filters once or twice; remember to wet the filter before filling it with the syrup.
Store the concentrate in a resealable bottle in the refrigerator (I use a glass quart milk bottle). I’m not sure of the exact shelf life; we always use ours up before it goes bad!
To use, pour one ounce in a glass, top with ice cubes, add gin or vodka (optional), and fill the remainder of the glass with carbonated water. Stir well, garnish with a lime wedge, and enjoys!
This article was excerpted with permission from the book Urban Farm Projects: Making the Most of Your Money, Space, and Stuff, copyright 2014, I-5 Publishing, LLC. For more budget-friendly and environmentally conscience projects and recipes, pick up a copy today!