Some years back, my wife and I discovered the simple pleasures of the espresso tonic: a shot of espresso mixed with tonic water. If you’ve never had one, it sounds pretty bad! Hot espresso, mixed with the sweet and bitter flavor of cold, fizzy tonic water? Somehow, though, it miraculously comes together into more than the sum of its parts, into a drink that is simultaneously richly flavorful and incredibly refreshing.

Unfortunately, as trends do, espresso tonic faded away as quickly as it came, leaving us sadly deprived of the drink — particularly because we didn’t have an espresso maker at home (at least, not at the time). For a while, it became a thing we occasionally remembered and reminisced about, but mostly in the context of a lost, treasured past.

Several months ago, though, a new café opened near a bakery that I frequent on the weekends, and the lively, chatty owner has made it worth the trip out just for the conversation. During one of these visits, to enjoy an hour of chatting for the price of an espresso, it came up that my wife could really go for an espresso tonic now that the weather was warming up, but they’re so hard to find.


The next time I visited, I arrived just after the owner of the coffee shop had received a mail-order shipment: seemingly dozens of bottles of tonic water, in multiple flavors. He was so inspired by the previous weekend’s casual desire for an espresso tonic that he decided to not only start selling them, but to challenge himself to find just the right blend of coffee beans to perfectly complement each flavor of tonic water.

One challenge he did not foresee: the difficulty of opening the bottles without chipping the glass in his enthusiasm.

Happily, he did carefully filter the tonic water through a paper filter, and the resulting beverage was perfectly safe to drink.

Though I have yet to take a photo of any of his espresso tonics, please rest assured that they are all delicious. If you haven’t tried this drink yourself, give it a chance if you ever have the opportunity! You may well be pleasantly surprised.