I’m always on the hunt for refreshing drinks this time of year and recently stumbled across this idea of a vinegar tonic. It might sound odd at first glance, but this Watermelon Ginger Tonic will be hands-down one of the most refreshing drinks you try this summer!
It’s very easy to make this tonic and is great this time of year when watermelon is super ripe and cheap. The trick is to soak the watermelon in the base honey mixture and add an almost-error-worthy amount of apple cider vinegar.
Use this tonic in SO many ways, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. It’s a delicious thing to have in your fridge on hot days.
What is a Vinegar Tonic?
There are a few different names for this idea. I’ve also heard vinegar drinks called a shrub. (Like these apple cider shrub cocktails I made a few years ago.) Shrubs are usually used in cocktails though while this tonic is perfect without any booze in it.
The idea of a strong tonic like this is you make a concentrated mixture of honey, fruit, and vinegar and let it steep. Then you can dilute that concentrate however you see fit.
I never thought drinking vinegar could be so good, but trust me it’s super refreshing!
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How to make the Ginger tonic
This is pretty easy to make and is a great use of any almost-turned fruit you have.
Add a few cups of water to a pot with honey and ginger. The ginger is optional, but I like it a lot.
Bring that to a simmer and then pour it over the watermelon in a bowl or container with a lid.
Let that mixture cool off a bit and then add the apple cider vinegar and fresh mint. You want to let this tonic concentrate mixture steep in the fridge for at least four hours or even overnight.
Then strain off the watermelon and store the ginger tonic in a glass jar!
Can you eat the watermelon you strain off? Absolutely! I tried a few pieces of it. I found it to be pretty strong since it soaked in the vinegar mixture, but it’s kind of like a bitter watermelon. If that’s your thing, go for it!
Substitution ideas for the tonic
There are SO many things you can add to this tonic once you get the idea down.
Strong herbs like mint, lemongrass, and ginger work really well.
Also you could add a variety of fruits like blueberries, raspberries, and even other kinds of melon like cantaloupe or honeydew.
If you want to really kick it up a notch, add a few spicy peppers to the tonic as it steeps. That heat will be really nice!
How to use the tonic concentrate in drinks
Once you have this concentrate, you can use it in a few different ways.
Non-alcoholic use: Add about 1 part of the tonic mixture with 1 part of cold water or soda water with lots of ice. This is a nice refreshing summer drink that you can garnish with lemon, lime, or cucumbers.
Alcoholic use: I think this mixture lends itself well to gin. Add 1 or 1 1/2 ounces of gin to a glass with 3 ounces of the tonic mixture and then top with club soda. YUM.
How long will the ginger tonic concentrate keep?
This vinegar tonic will keep for about a week in the fridge. After that it starts to get pretty funky. It’s possible yours will keep longer, but a week is about when I pull the plug on it.
If you’re a risk-taker, this is basically the first step to making homemade kombucha so feel free to explore there!
Mine never lasts a week so it’s not really a problem.
If you need a refreshing drink this summer, look no further than this watermelon ginger tonic!
Watermelon Ginger Tonic
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup honey
- 2 inches fresh ginger
- 6 cups chopped watermelon
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup fresh mint
- Bring water, honey, and ginger coins to a boil over medium-low heat. Once honey is dissolved, remove from heat.
- Cube watermelon and add to a large dish or bowl. Cover with hot honey liquid.
- When the liquid is cooled to about room temperature, add apple cider vinegar and mint. Stir together and store in the fridge for at least four hours or overnight.
- Strain off watermelon pieces and store tonic concentrate in a clean glass jar. It’ll keep fine for a week and might ferment slightly over time. (You can eat the watermelon pieces that you strain off, but they are pretty pungent from the vinegar soak.)
- Use the concentrate to make refreshing drinks mixed with club soda or make a great gin cocktail with 1 ½ ounces gin, 3 ounces concentrate, and club soda.
Did you make this recipe?
Here are some other great drink recipes!
Need more summer drink inspiration?