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Espresso Tonic Recipe – The Perfect Chilled Coffee for Summers

The espresso tonic is a bubbly and refreshing chilled coffee drink that’s gotten popular in the last few years.

It sounds weird at first, but after you taste it, you’ll realize there’s nothing like a chilled espresso tonic to refresh and revive you on a hot day.

Here’s a simple recipe to make this specialty drink your favorite go-to café drink.

What Is an Espresso Tonic?

Like some classic cocktails, espresso tonics are specialty beverages with two basic ingredients. As the name suggests, this drink contains espresso and tonic water. The coffee’s acidity and the tonic water’s bitterness give this beverage a sweet and bitter taste.

The recipe is super customizable too. It’s the perfect chilled coffee beverage to drink all year round.

Espresso Tonic

Espresso tonic drinks are often layered, with the tonic at the base and the espresso on top. The tonic-espresso ratio of a basic recipe is roughly 2:1 or 3:1; however, you can tweak the recipe to your taste. For this drink, some people also use concentrated cold brew.

This drink is thought to be first mixed in Europe c. 2007, but gained popularity in the US nearly a decade later. Espresso tonics are best served cold, and you’d find this specialty drink in most of your favorite cafés. It’s the perfect caffeine fix for summer.

How to Make Espresso Tonic?

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Espresso Tonic Recipe

Espresso tonic is delightful on a hot summer day. Besides being a simple beverage that can be whipped up in 5 minutes, espresso tonics are also refreshing. To make a simple espresso tonic, follow these simple steps:
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Recipes
Servings 1 servings
Calories 58 kcal


  • 30 g shot of espresso
  • 150 ml Indian tonic
  • 100 ml Ice


  • 1 piece Lime wedge
  • 1 tsp ginger syrup


  • Make a shot of espresso with your espresso maker and set it aside.
  • Let the espresso cool for a while, and get the coffee cup ready.
  • Fill up the coffee glass with a few ice cubes.
  • (Optional) Squeeze some lime or lemon juice into the ice cubes.
  • Pour the tonic water and optionally ginger syrup into the ice cubes.
  • Strain the cooled espresso over the tonic water to form a top layer.
  • Garnish with a slice of lime or lemon wedge, and enjoy your tasty espresso tonic!



  • Use Indian tonic water. London-style tonic is sweet, it will be very different.
  • You need to use a proper espresso machine for this drink. Other methods of making espresso are not as good here.

What Kind of Cup Should Espresso Tonic Be Served In?

Your espresso tonic is best served in a highball glass. These glasses are great for presentation as they highlight the different layers of your creation.

Highball Glass

However, you can also serve them in ceramic or other glasses or mugs. An advantage of the highball glass and other similar coffee glasses is that they do not leave ring stains on your coffee table.

Tips for the Perfect Espresso Tonic Recipe

Here are a couple of tips to make the perfect espresso tonic:

  • You can sweeten your espresso tonics, but only use liquid sweeteners, not sugar.
  • For the perfect layered look, pour the tonic water before the espresso. This also prevents your drink from fizzing over.
  • Espresso tonics will become less carbonated if stored. Thus, it’s best to only make as much as you want to consume.
  • Pour in the espresso slowly to prevent it from bubbling over.
  • Add your favorite syrup to sweeten this bitter drink and garnish it with fresh fruits like citrus slices, berries, etc., to create your own flavor profile.
  • If you want a more robust flavor, experiment with cold brew instead of espresso.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Espresso tonics are low-calorie drinks compared to most sweetened coffee drinks. The calorie content of espresso tonics is from the tonic water and sweeteners. The recipe above contains about 62 calories. However, without a sweetener, it could have far fewer calories.

You can choose to stir your espresso tonic. However, it might cause your drink to get opaque and chalky. It’ll also melt the ice more quickly.

Cold brew coffee is an excellent alternative to espresso for this recipe. Cold brews are coffee concentrates that are made without any form of heating. They can also be pre-made and kept in the fridge for a long time.

To make a cold brew, pour a cup of coarsely ground coffee beans into a jar. Add 1.5 cups of cold or room-temperature water.

Mix the grounds and the water thoroughly, and add an extra 1.5 cups of water.

To steep the drink, close the lid tightly to ensure it’s airtight and refrigerate it for 16 to 24 hours. Strain your cold brew with a coffee filter.

When you make your cold brew, you can use it instead of the espresso in your espresso tonic recipe. Note that the longer your coffee brews in the fridge, the “stronger” the flavor gets. Also, you can store a jar of cold brew in your refrigerator for future use.


Coffee lovers can easily make espresso tonics to enjoy a chilled drink. You can experiment with your ratios and sweeteners, but you should stick to the simple recipe. If you prefer a bitter tonic drink, you can avoid sweeteners altogether.

How do you like your espresso tonic? Let me know in the comments!

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