King Neptune’s Tonic

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Cocktail History

The King Neptune’s Tonic is a sherry and rum cocktail that was created by bartender Karen Fu while working in New York City, New York. The recipe features an eclectic mix of flavors that you don’t usually see in a tonic drink, including nutty Oloroso sherry and aged rum as the base, coffee liqueur, and quinine from the tonic water as an accenting bitter note rather than in a prominent role.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Oloroso Sherry: This is one of the base spirits. The recipe calls for an Oloroso sherry because it lends a pleasant nuttiness to the drink, but if you can’t find one of those, you can also substitute it for an Amontillado sherry.

Dark Rum: This is the other base spirit. We used Wray & Nephew Gold Jamaican because it’s high quality yet still affordable, full flavored while still being lighter than other rums, and lends exotic spice flavors to the finish of the drink. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Caleño Dark & Spicy Tropical Non-Alcoholic Spirit in place of the rum.

Coffee Liqueur: This adds unique and indulgent coffee flavor. This recipe specifically calls for Galliano Ristretto, which is what we used. If can’t find that in your area, you can substitute other brands of coffee liqueur such as Mr. Black Spirits or Kahlúa. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Lyre’s Coffee Originale in place of the coffee liqueur.

Tonic Water: This stretches the drink and adds tonic water’s distinct quinine flavor. We chose to use Fitch & Leedes Indian Tonic Water (gifted) in this drink.

Lemon Twist: This this garnish. It adds fresh citrus aroma and flavor.

Tasting Notes

The King Neptune’s Tonic features aromas of bitter lemon and quinine and has an intriguing yet complex taste that contains rum notes initially, follows with sherry backed by a slight herbal coffee note and an effervescent bitterness, and ends with a lingering savory sherry flavor accented with a touch of coffee.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: We both thought the King Neptune’s Tonic was fascinating, clever, and altogether unique as each sip highlighted a different ingredient. Kendall found it a bit too bitter for her palate due to the addition of tonic but enjoyed trying a tonic drink with such a unique base. Alex, on the other hand, loved that every taste offered a piece of a unique puzzle.

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Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

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Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“Going into this tasting, I had no idea what to expect since the ensemble of flavors was so different, but I was very impressed with how it worked together. The flavors are all so unique, and they each come through individually with each sip bringing something different to the palate. The slight bitterness from the tonic complements the herbal coffee notes very well too, while the sherry and rum combine to create a funky and long-lingering base flavor.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“This has to be one of the most unique tonic cocktails you’ll ever taste. It uses a fascinating blend of ingredients that together make a tapestry of flavors, a different one of which shines in every sip. I swear, every time I took a drink of this one I tasted a new ingredient. First came sherry and tonic, then coffee, and then rum. I don’t know that I would drink this again because it was a little bitter for my palate (I’m not big on any tonic drink), but it was nice to find a cocktail made with something other than a gin base to make use of our Fitch & Leedes Indian Tonic Water.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from Winter Drinks: 70 Essential Cold-Weather Cocktails by the editors of PUNCH.

AuthorWinter DrinksPrep Time5 minsRating

Ingredients
 1 ½ oz Oloroso Sherry
 ¾ oz Dark Rum
 ¾ oz Galliano Ristretto
 ½ oz Fitch & Leedes Indian Tonic Water
 1 Lemon Twist

Method
1

Add sherry, rum, coffee liqueur, and ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 15-30 seconds.

3

Strain into a highball glass over a fresh crushed ice.

4

Top with tonic water.

5

Garnish with lemon twist.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 ½ oz Oloroso Sherry
 ¾ oz Dark Rum
 ¾ oz Galliano Ristretto
 ½ oz Fitch & Leedes Indian Tonic Water
 1 Lemon Twist

Directions

Method
1

Add sherry, rum, coffee liqueur, and ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 15-30 seconds.

3

Strain into a highball glass over a fresh crushed ice.

4

Top with tonic water.

5

Garnish with lemon twist.

King Neptune’s Tonic

Make It a Mocktail: Use Caleño Dark & Spicy Tropical Non-Alcoholic Spirit in place of the rum and Lyre’s Coffee Originale in place of the coffee liqueur to try a booze-free version of this drink.

Tools & Glassware We Recommend

More Tonic Cocktails

If you like this tonic water cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Trellis Gin & Tonic Cocktail Recipe

Trellis Gin & Tonic: An ombré gin cocktail made with cucumber and rose pink tonic water, lime juice, and a rolled cucumber

Lemon Thyme Gin & Tonic Cocktail Recipe

Lemon Thyme Gin & Tonic: A lemon gin cocktail made with lemon juice, thyme syrup, Indian tonic water, and a lemon wedge

Rosemary Gin & Tonic Cocktail Recipe

Rosemary Gin & Tonic: A gin cocktail made with grapefruit shrub, lime juice, grapefruit tonic water, grapefruit slices, and rosemary

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