If you’re in the mood for a long, leisurely podcast, take a listen to Alton Brown interviewing Brooks Reitz of the Jack Rudy Cocktail Company, a family-run business in Charleston, South Carolina. Several years ago, Brooks was working at a bar in Louisville, Kentucky and was dismayed at the available tonics to mix with his vast array of artisanal gins. He didn’t want to corrupt the high-quality spirits with cheap mixers that had been “dumbed down” for the sake of price and marketing. Brooks began tinkering with recipes and decided upon a tonic “syrup” because he didn’t have the correct technology for making a carbonated version.
He then moved to Charleston and began working at acclaimed restaurant FIG as their General Manager, overseeing the cocktail program. His homemade tonic grew so popular that he began selling bootlegged versions to customers. Within a few years, the Jack Rudy Cocktail Company was born, named after Brooks’ great-grandfather, who was his epitome of the modern Southern gentleman. The podcast is about 45 minutes long, and full of fascinating facts about the history of quinine as well. Alton himself is a big fan of the syrup, and described his simple, yet foolproof recipe below:
- 2 jiggers gin
- 1 jigger tonic syrup
Top with ice and club soda. That’s it.