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East Imperial

09/03/2015
Written by Gin Foundry

With two tonics, a soda water and a ginger beer, East Imperial are set to take their place on the map. The East Imperial story began with simple aim – to put the tradition back into tonic water. Inspired by a family recipe from 1903, the range of tonic waters and ginger beer is made in New Zealand and crafted from the finest natural ingredients. East Ocean Javanese quinine is blended with botanicals and lightly sweetened to create an exquisitely refreshing tonic.

Using handpicked Cinchona originating from the very same Peruvian genus that was employed by one of the company founder’s great grandfathers at their Kenyan plantation in 1903 – East Imperial has two tonic waters.

East Imperial isn’t a traditional tasting tonic. Less sweet, rootier and more akin to an artisanal tonic made in high end bars than for commercial retail. Interestingly, East Imperial is currently the only tonic water sourcing all the key ingredients from Asia.

It’s worth noting that there is only a trace of citric acid used in East Imperial. This is one of the reasons why it tastes so different to other tonics. The citrus wasn’t “forgotten”, it was deliberately kept minute to allow consumers and bartenders to customize it to their tastes. For example, our ideal serve isn’t a traditional G&T when using East Imperial. We would recommend trying 50ml of gin, a good 15ml of lime juice and 150ml of tonic.

While the perceived lack of citrus makes it an unusual proposition to taste by itself and makes it seem rooty in comparison to other tonics, it’s possibly East Imperial’s biggest attribute. Knowing what garnishes or fruit juices you enjoy will lend itself well when mixing with it. It is a tonic that adapts easily and highlights the gin you use.

This knowledge takes time to perfect, but for the more inquisitive and adventurous – it really does allow you to turn a rather simple G&T into something much more bespoke.

An undersold element to East Imperial tonic is the use of natural sugar cane in its recipe. This fact alone isn’t unique, but the combination of using a natural cane sugar alongside the limited use of other ingredients means that East Imperial tonic comes in at almost half the calories than most other commercial brands.

In many ways, it’s an incredible feat as it is rarely compared to other low calorie tonics given it’s not considered to be, nor marketed as one. If you were to compare East Imperial to other “slim line” tonics however – East Imperial is considerably better.

Also part of the East Imperial offering is Burma Tonic. Unlike its sister expression, Burma Tonic is assertive. It smells similar to big brands and tastes more akin to familiar tonics. It’s sweeter (they use more natural cane sugar than in the other), it has more citric acid and as a result feels more lively. It will easily work with gin in a traditional 1 – 3 part G&T and was specifically formulated to bring back the tradition of long Pink Gins.

With distribution established in the UK, East Imperial Tonic has its foot through the door and looking to have a big 2015. With its global roots (the tonic is produced in New Zealand and its owners are based in Singapore), there’s a lot of room to grow and to develop multi-laterally in the years ahead.

The regular East Imperial Tonic leans towards a more artisanal style that won’t appeal to some, but as the interest in tonic grows and consumers acquire the taste for less sweet, less artificial tonics – it is perfectly poised to capture the imagination.

On the other hand, Burma Tonic is much more akin to what consumers are already used to and is turning heads as it finds its way into G&T’s in bars all over the (now devolved) empire…

For more information about East Imperial Tonic, visit their website: eastimperial.com