I mentioned in my tribute to Prof. Jacob Briars that he was looking to add a little effervescence to the tonic market. On my recent trip across the Tasman, I was lucky enough to try the first production run of this fantastic little product.
Quina Fina refers to the highest grade of Loxa or Crown Bark available to European commerce during the Colonial Period. You can read about all that here in an 1854 manual of natural medicinal extracts, should you wish.
I digress however, from the purpose of this post. The tonic itself is rather grand, my sample was a touch low on the presence of bead, a malady that should find remedy when production runs are the same size as the vat in which they’re mixed. The taste is less sweet than most, with a conscious choice to cut the level of sugar. Balance is achieved by the addition of more Quinine, the end product nestles into Gin like the Colonies to Mother England’s bosom.
Any of you who’ve ordered Gins & Tonic in an Asian nightclub or a Stripclub will be aware that Quinine fluoresces in the presence of UV light. It is a mark of the sheer volume of the bark extract that Briars has included that his product has a hefty bluish tinge in the presence of an overcast Auckland evening. The brown bottle, more than a point of visual difference, protects these elevated levels to ensure anyone lucky enough to be sipping one of these beauties outside will experience this angels touch. Golden Dawn at 134 Ponsonby Rd might be a good place to start…
Currently you’ll only find this gem behind the bars of the finest New Zealand watering holes. Jacob’s entrepreneurial flair should see distribution increase directly, so keep a vigilant watch and ask your trusty bartender. If you do find it, they’ll give you the rest of the bottle alongside your drink as part of the ritual.
Plymouth was delightful in a pairing with my sample, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays with a host of others over the Christmas period.