By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Jun 14, 2019 at 3:01 PM Photography: Lori Fredrich

Maybe you’ve mistaken tonic as a one-trick pony, a bedfellow of vodka or gin and not much else. But it’s definitely time to rethink that notion, because the espresso and tonic might just be your new favorite summer coffee drink.

At its core, the drink is simple. Crisp, cold tonic is poured into a glass with ice and topped off with an espresso float. The drink is served with a wedge of lime, meant to be incorporated in the beverage before drinking.

The true secret to the drink is using an espresso that’s more fruity than heavy. Single origin espressos from Kenya and Ethiopia are natural bets.

Kickapoo Coffee, 232 E. Erie St., makes theirs with a combination of Top Note Indian Tonic and Ethiopia Chelbessa, a natural process organic espresso that expresses lots of rich fruit flavor with an almost floral finish. It’s a perfect match for the high citrus and bitter notes in the tonic, and it stands up beautifully against the fresh zing of lime.

The result is both delicious – citrusy, crisp and refreshing – and beautiful. In fact, if you’re patient, you can sit and watch as the espresso slowly co-mingles with the tonic, first clouding a bit on contact and eventually creating graceful brown wisps and streaks through the clear sweet liquid.

It’s a big fat cheers to summer!

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.