What did you do before launching Sea Buck Tonic?
Before Sea Buck and still now, I manage a gin bar in St Ives (Firehouse Bar and Grill). And Charlie is the owner of the Balcony Bar.
What made you decide to create your own tonic?
After a couple of years I soon realised that although there were vast amounts of gins being made. It seemed like a new one every day was being brought to my attention, there was a really limited amount of tonics. And with it being such an important part of a gin and tonic. ¾ of your drink is tonic. I spoke with Charlie and we started thinking how great would it be to have a true Cornish gin and tonic.
How did you get from the idea to the final product?
I started playing with recipes before and in-between shifts, sometimes during. I was driving the chefs mad. And Some of the tonics I was making really were awful. During this process, which had been going on for months, I went to a chef friend of mine's house for dinner. After dinner he asked if I wanted to try a liqueur he had made from a super berry he had foraged on Gwithian dunes called sea buckthorn. It tasted like nothing I had ever tasted - full of citrus flavours. The perfect partner to Gin and Tonic. I knew straight away this berry had to go in our Tonic.
Can you tell us more about the ingredients and the golden colour?
After doing some research into tonic we soon started questioning why is tonic clear? We found out that other tonics were using a bleached quinine powder. This is when we decided our tonic wouldn’t be clear and it would be its natural golden colour. And we wouldn’t be using any flavourings or essential oils, only natural ingredients.
Can you tell us more about how the tonic is made?
Our tonic is made very differently to other tonics. We naturally extract the quinine from the bark. The bark and other natural ingredients - orange peel, lemon peel, lemongrass and sea buckthorn berries - are all added to cornish spring water down in Fowey in Cornwall where we extract all the natural flavours.
What have been the biggest challenges and achievements so far?
To be honest all of this has been a challenge as its all completely new to us. And I believe to be where we are with a range of 5 tonic waters after only launching 7 months ago is a big achievement. We have also just won Gold in the 'Taste of the West' for our regular tonic, and Silver for our light tonic.
How would you describe Sea Buck Tonic in 3 words?
A REAL TONIC
Do you have any favourite servings with your tonic?
A favourite serve at the moment is our new Blackberry & Honey tonic with Tinkture Organic Rose Gin, served with loads of ice, fresh blackberries and a sprig of thyme. You also can't beat our regular tonic with Tarquins Sea Dog Gin and dehydrated orange.
What gins do you always have on your gin shelf?
I always have a bottle of Gin Mare on the shelf, its been a favourite for a while.
What's next for Sea Buck Tonic - any exciting plans?
We have just this week launched our new flavours, Blackberry & Honey, Cucumber & Mint with hints of elderflower, and our Dry Tonic. There are also a couple of new things happening over the next couple of months, but I can't talk about them just yet!