DIY Tonic Bar

DIY Tonic Bar

DIY Tonic Bar

Maybe you liked our martini bar idea from last week and are looking for another fun, easy to execute cocktail party idea. Maybe the martini (even with the reversed proportions option) was a bit too hard a drink for you, and you’re hoping for something a little easier drinking.

We have an idea that should satisfy both of you: a tonic bar.


The gin & tonic is, of course, the unassailable king of the ‘& Tonic’ world. But other spirits go well with tonic too. And you can add just a splash of a liqueur to bring some other flavors into the mix too.

Tonic drinks are easy to design, easy to mix, and easy to match with most anyone’s drink tastes.  And, as another benefit for those of you who have done the martini bar, there’s a large amount of overlap of ingredients.

Here’s all you need to know:

  • For a standard tonic drink, use 2 oz of spirit and 4 oz of tonic;
  • For a more spirited drink, use 2 oz of spirit and 2 oz of tonic;
  • For a a lighter, more refreshing drink use 1 oz of spirit and 3 to 4 oz of tonic;
  • Add the spirit and the tonic to an ice-filled glass;
  • (Optional) add a liqueur if you wish;
  • Stir lightly, and enjoy.


Your shopping list:

  • A decent gin–Tanqueray works well ($25), but this is not a bad time to break out a nice craft bottle like Ivy City ($35) if you’re in DC
  • A decent vodka–we use Svedka ($20)
  • A bottle of sherry–we learned from the famous DC tapas place Jaleo that this is a delicious, low alcohol option ($15)
  • An assortment of Fever Tree tonics–trust us, the extra cost is worth it; and the assortment of flavors adds to the fun ($6/4-pack)
  • Lots of ice
  • A few bottles of liqueur:
    • St. Germain is practically a must ($39)
    • Canton ginger is a favorite ($36)
    • An Amaro–Averna, Montenegro, or Nonino, for example–turns out to be a big hit ($25-$40)
    • Chartreuse is pricey ($56), but our personal favorite (read more here). It’s delicious (and a tonic bar, with its small splashes is actually a pretty economical way of using it).

To make your tonic bar:

  • Buy the first five ingredients yourself;
  • Ask your guests to bring a bottle of the liqueur;
  • Print out the recipe instructions (below);
  • Let people mix and drink…

Bonus ideas

Bonus idea one–go beyond tonic. Add ginger ale, lemon lime, soda, or other similar options. Fever Tree can help you out here too–their ginger beer is quite good–but of course you don’t need to stick to them.

Bonus idea two–provide multiple gin options. Gins actually taste quite different from one another. Instead of, or as well as, changing up the tonic, you can keep the tonic the same and use different gins. As the host, you could either provide the multiple gin options or add that to the guest options. St. George sells a sampler pack of three excellent and very different gins that’s practically made for the occasion. Or you could ask your local liquor store for two or three craft gin selections.

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Print these on card stock to spruce up your party and give your guests instructions. Tonic Bar tent cards here (fold in half) |  banner here (cut on dotted line).

Tonic Bar Basics Tent Card2 Tonic Bar Basics Tent Card Tonic Bar Banner Tonic Bar Banner2


Roberts & June