EAST END TONIC
This summer, take a page from Spain and up your gin and tonic game. From Barcelona to Bilbao, you’ll find specialty bars dedicated solely to serving the classic British cocktail, known simply as “Gin Tonic.” Crafted with specialty gins and artisan tonics, these cocktails are a far cry from their dive bar cousins—topped with fresh herbs and served in a bulbous wine glass instead of the Collins glass common stateside.
While finding a great gin in the Gem State is as easy as a trip to the liquor store, finding an appropriate tonic can be much trickier. That’s where East End Tonic comes in. Crafted in small batches in Boise’s East End, this artisan tonic utilizes only organic, sustainably sourced botanicals and spices from Mountain Rose Herbs in Eugene, Oregon.
“This is a true tonic—it’s made from the bark of the Cinchona and it also has Pau d’Arco, which is another tree bark from the Amazon that they use in medicine,” said East End Tonic owner Zsolt Nagy.
Nagy, who works as an IT consultant in the medical field, spent six months developing the recipe for his original tonic, which is made with monk fruit sugar so it’s calorie-free. He says the best way to serve it is with a splash of soda water and your favorite gin.
“There are two tonics. I developed the first one for gin and I developed the second one for vodka tonic, that’s made with Maqui berry and also has elderberries and bilberries in it,” he said.
Even non-drinkers enjoy his tonics: “I have a lot of people who buy the tonic from me who don’t drink alcohol, but they would like to sip on something that’s not alcoholic and a little bit more unique than an iced tea or a Diet Coke,” said Nagy.
East EndTonic has the apothecary aesthetic dialed in—its elegant, cork-stoppered bottle boasts a label emblazoned with a shiny, Magrittestyle bowler hat.
“It took me a long time to source the bottles, they’re from Italy,” said Nagy. “I tried to do everything very unique and high end for this tonic.”
East End Tonic is currently sold at Wild Root Café & Market in downtown Boise and will also be carried at Clairvoyant Brewing when it opens later this summer. Nagy sells the tonic wholesale through his website, but says he’s turned down out-of-state retailers because he’d rather people stumble across it organically and enjoy it in Idaho.