In their quest to create the world’s first premium Indian tonic water the founders of Fever-Tree spent days in the British Library researching centuries-old quinine sources before embarking on a journey to explore some of the most remote places on earth.
For each of the tonic flavours in their range the hunt has continued, sourcing only the finest ingredients from around the world no matter the cost to create individually crafted tonics that complement the varied flavours of gin worldwide.
This is an expose on the hunt for the finest ingredients used in the five flavour profiles offered in South Africa, namely Indian Tonic Water, Refreshingly Light Tonic Water, Mediterranean Tonic Water, Elderflower Tonic Water and Aromatic Tonic Water.
Soft Spring Water (source: rural England)
Spring water is used in all Fever-Tree tonics. Sourced in rural England, Fever-Tree only uses water with a low mineral content ensuring that the drinks are subtle in their taste and clean in their finish. High carbonation is a vital component of any mixed drink, which is why Fever-Tree carbonate their products to an extremely high level.
Quinine (source: Democratic Republic of Congo)
Quinine is the key ingredient that creates the gentle bitterness in all tonic water. After much research, the creators of Fever-Tree discovered quinine from the bark of the last remaining plantation of original fever trees, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Why source from so far afield? Because original fever trees produce some of the highest quality quinine in the world.
Bitter Orange (source: Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico)
The bitter orange oils in Fever-Trees range of tonic waters come from a co-operative of small specialist citrus farmers in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. They are grown using Ancient Mayan farming techniques, which revolve around the lunar cycle. The sap is at its highest during the new moon, and farmers await this single day to graft young orange plants on to existing rootstock, creating bountiful new trees. Then it’s another three years before they bear the fruit from which Fever-Tree extracts the finest orange oils.
Lemon Thyme and Rosemary (source: Drôme region, Mediterranean)
Fever-Tree’s Mediterranean and Naturally Light Tonic Waters contain a blend of essential oils of flowers, fruits and herbs from the shores of the Mediterranean; one of the most important components of which is Lemon Thyme and Rosemary… one of the last French families still cultivating in the Drôme region is the Vidal family whose oils are seen as a benchmark for quality all over the world. Combined with Fever-Trees signature quinine from the Congo, the Mediterranean Tonic Water has a uniquely floral aroma.
Elderflower (source: Gloucestershire, England)
To capture the finest elderflower flavour, Fever-Tree sources handpicked flowers from a small Gloucestershire farm on the edge of the Cotswolds. The elderflowers are hand collected on the farm between May and June when the region is in full bloom. Unlike most other flowers, elderflower pollinates overnight, which results in them being at their most fragrant after dark. The flowers are picked at sundown when they are at their freshest and the unique flavour extraction process begins within hours. The delicate and sweet flavour of elderflower is perfectly balanced by the soft bitterness of the quinine in Fever-Trees Elderflower Tonic Water.
Angostura bark (source: South America)
Records of early 19th century naval surgeons adding angostura bark to gin inspired Fever-Tree to create this modern twist on an old classic. Like quinine, angostura has a rich history of preventing and treating illnesses. While quinine was used by the Spanish in the late 1630s to treat fevers, the bitter bark of the angostura tree has been used by the people of South America for centuries to ease a variety of bodily ailments; and much like quinine, angostura bark’s anti-fever properties are remarkable, making it a once-valuable tool in the fight against malaria. A cornerstone of traditional medicine, angostura bark is stripped from the tree by hand and dried for later use. The gentle bitterness of angostura is perfectly balanced with sweet, spicy notes of cardamom, ginger, pimento berries and vanilla from Madagascar in Fever-Trees Aromatic Tonic Water.
Vanilla (source: Madagascar)
True Madagascan vanilla is a difficult thing to grow but the rewards are bountiful – its taste and aroma are so highly prized it is now worth more than its weight in silver. However, despite its unrivalled breadth of biodiversity, there is no native fauna to pollenate vanilla flowers in this region; instead, local farmers painstakingly hand-pollenate each flower in the 24-hour period in which it opens (only once a year) and then wait six months for the annual harvest, after which there is further work involved in the end result. Madagascan vanilla is an intensely sweet and warming burst of flavour, think delicate and beautiful. Because that’s how it tastes in Fever-Trees Aromatic Tonic Water.