Less than a year since it made its debut, Singapore Distillery, one of only few distilleries in Singapore, has launched the nation’s first local tonic water brand.
Since launch, Singapore Distillery has produced a wide range of gins made using fresh ingredients sourced from the region – think coconut hearts, pandan leaves and Japanese cucumbers. They currently have seven gins and a vodka in the market, with plans for more in the pipeline.
Their new line of tonic waters, called Amberosa, was made with their gins in mind. “The whole idea is that after working so hard to get all these flavours into our gins, we wanted a tonic that would pair perfectly with them,” explains Ashwin Sekaran, founder and head distiller of Singapore Distillery.
The tonic waters come in three variants – Natural, Cucumber and Strawberry – and the name Amberosa comes from the natural amber hue the tonic water has.
“The amber comes from Cinchona bark, which is where quinine comes from. Unlike other tonic waters that are made with quinine hydrochloride or sulfate, which are chemical extracts, ours is made from the tree bark itself,” he explains. “It’s natural, more mellow and it doesn’t have that harsh bitterness.”
While it is rare for a distillery to launch its own tonic water label, Sekaran has done so so that people can better enjoy his gins. The tonics are thus designed to be best paired with a particular gin from his distillery.
The Natural goes well with a good range of gins, especially the flagship Singa Gin, and the Cucumber tonic is meant to be paired with the Kyuri Gin. Meanwhile, the Strawberry pairs nicely with an upcoming product, the Ichigo Cameron Gin.
“Of course, you’re still free to pair as you please,” Sekaran adds. “The Lime Garden and Cucumber tonic works too, so does the Strawberry tonic with the Singapore Sling Gin.”
“I’ve also always thought it will be cool for a gin distillery to make its own tonic,” he quips. “After all, we are the ones who will really know what we want in a tonic water.”
The crux, maintains Sekaran, is that his Amberosa tonics do not overtake the delicate flavours often found in gins, allowing the spirit’s botanicals to still shine through.
Production of the tonic waters are currently being done in England (due to manufacturing capabilities), where the founder has engaged a close friend and fellow distiller to help make the tonics according to his specifications.
About the Author
Dannon Har is the Managing Editor of Spill. Discovering his innate gift for drinking only at a ripe age, he spares no time trying to find more delicious drops to imbibe during his time on Earth. When he’s not minding every little detail of Spill, he spends his time concocting luscious libations at his home bar.