Espresso Tonic Is the New Take on Cold Brew—Here's How to Make It

Bubbles and coffee combine for a refreshing non-alcoholic sipper.

Hearing tonic is involved might make espresso tonic sound like a fancy cocktail you'd order at a bar, but the two-ingredient coffee drink is simply espresso (or cold brew) and tonic water served over ice. As a result, you get a light, refreshing, and bubbly alternative for getting your daily caffeine boost.

The espresso tonic has been circling in the specialty coffee world for the past few years. So if you're ready to move on from whipped coffee to something new, this is another delicious way to up your homebrewing game.

close up of hands pouring espresso into a glass of tonic water
agrobacter/Getty Images

How to Make Espresso Tonic

Even though it only has two ingredients, there are a few things to note before you make your own.

  1. A basic espresso tonic is usually made with a 1:2 ratio of espresso to tonic water but can be tweaked to your taste preference. So if you have a double shot of espresso (2 ounces), you'd want to add 4 ounces of tonic. You can use cold brew instead of espresso but go for a concentrate (without water added) because you're using tonic as your mixer, which will dilute it.
  2. So few ingredients mean it's worth getting the good stuff. Go for fruitier beans, like an Ethiopian roast ($23, Trade Coffee), that will pair nicely with your citrusy tonic. And as for the tonic, pick a quality brand such as Fever Tree ($6, Target).
  3. Pour the tonic water over ice in your glass first before slowly adding the coffee on top. This allows the bubbles to settle and avoids any overflow. Plus, you can enjoy the beautiful presentation of coffee separated in a layer above the bubbles. Insert a straw and sip away.

Some cafés offer twists on the espresso tonic by serving it with flavored syrup. Starbucks even has recipes featuring orange and crushed cardamom. Try making a cold brew tonic with a bit of simple syrup, a twist of lemon or lime, and a sprig of fresh mint. It's the perfect refreshing summer drink on a hot day.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles