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Tonix brings fresh flavor to an old staple

Tonix launched in March 2015.

If you've ever tasted store-bought tonic water, you've probably used the quinine-laced stuff to make a gin and tonic. But you've probably never enjoyed drinking tonic water on its own. Denver's Tonix is changing that.

The syrup is made in Denver with cinchona bark from South America, as were the original tonic waters that were developed to help combat malaria in the 1840s. The bark gives the concentrate its distinctive ruddy color.

Since it's a concentrate, imbibers can tweak the flavor by adding more or less to a drink, whether they're using soda water or not, explains Tonix founder Travis Gilbert. Also it's shelf stable, so it won't go bad after it's opened.

"I love gin and I love gin and tonics," Gilbert says. His late father-in-law introduced him to gin and tonics. "The first thing he asked me was if I wanted one."

"I was disappointed with the tonics on the market," Gilbert says. "And I thought: 'If there's not anything on the market, why not make it on my own.'" He explains that there are a few craft tonics available and a few craft tonic concentrates available as well. But he developed Tonix to be a bit more versatile.

The company recently had a launch party where it introduced the syrup to potential buyers: restaurants, liquor stores and bars. Already some local companies like Nooch Vegan Market, Bear Creek Distillery, Hugo's Colorado Beer & Spirits and Grandma's House Brewery are carrying and using the copper-colored concentrate.

Tonix is currently only selling the concentrate. However, Gilbert anticipates making a ready-to-drink tonic water for sale.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Read more articles by Chris Meehan.

Chris is a Denver-based freelance writer, editor and communications specialist. He covers sustainability, social issues and other topics.
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