A tonic that does not suppress but highlights the flavors of gin, and also pays homage to one of the iconic and inspiring places in Hungary, Lake Balaton: here is the new, favorite, natural and quality drink of the summer, Balatonic!
As a big gin and tonic fan, Norbert Sebestyén dreamed up the Balatonic drink together with a friend and later business partner. “We took part in a lot of Hungarian and foreign tastings during our travels, we tasted many mixer specialties, we were impressed by the diverse and creative cocktail culture behind the pairings of quality gins and tonics,” Norbert said.
At first, they focused on gin, but the more they got to know the tonic selection, the more it was outlined that there was a lack of a drink on offer that didn’t dominate gin but amplified its real flavors: “A clean tonic that doesn’t want to »outvoice« the gin, but brings out its features as a perfect complement. A tonic that can become a true icon for elevated social gatherings and quality nightlife in bars,” he pointed out.
Thus, the idea was followed by a decision and their exploration began, full of research, creation and fine-tuning of recipes, and scientific tastings. The biggest challenge was getting the perfect taste. “We didn’t calm down until we felt and tasted in our glass, what we can safely say represents a premium quality that we want to offer to gin and tonic lovers like us,” he added.
After several years of conscientious preparation and experimentation, the proper recipe was finally created and Balatonic was bottled.
But why Lake Balaton?
“There are two reasons why we pay homage to Lake Balaton. On the one hand, during a weekend at Lake Balaton—sipping a delicious gin and tonic, of course—we made the final decision that we were going to make a tonic, to which the unique, inspiring milieu of the Hungarian sea undeniably contributed. On the other hand, as luck would have it, all our professional partners feel a bond to Lake Balaton, so in the end, there could be no question that the name would be Balatonic,” said Norbert.
In addition to Balatonic not dominating but strengthening the taste of gin in contrast to other tonics, it also has further characteristics: it does not contain any extra artificial flavorings and fragrances, and it has a particularly clean texture.
The soul of the tonic
A drink that complements quality gins or even vermouths is associated with quality ingredients. We also learned from the masterminds that the most important basic element is quinine, the soul of the tonic. As a result of a long search, this is provided by a European manufactory, which itself uses very serious research to look for and find the purest sources of cinchona—here, too, quality comes first.
The excellent taste also depends on the right proportions. “If we get these right and create a recipe, the following workflows can be seen as a routine task in general. But there is a long way to go, with plenty of fine-tuning, tasting with gin or other distillates, experimentation. We can’t even sit back during production, a lot depends on proper carbonation, for example, to mention one of many,” he explained.
Balatonic and Balatonic Bar Edition
For the time being, Balatonic has two versions to taste: one with a slightly more citrusy taste, experience shows that consumers prefer it as an independent beverage. The Bar Edition is a great favorite of mixers, a rawer, more characteristic, true gourmet cocktail ingredient.
Both drinks are associated with a characterful label design, which praises the work of graphic designer and artist Andrej Tóth. The concept was to create a lively, playful, yet refined visual look, which well reflects the charming, harmonious atmosphere of Lake Balaton. “Andrej did a real work of art, creating a label that captures our customers not only in looks but also emotionally,” Norbert added.
The good news for tonic lovers is that the Balatonic team is also working on launching additional flavors onto the market: a drink that evokes the atmosphere of summer evenings, has a more floral flavor, and another with even more emphasis on quinine. The founders also want to address consumers who are more sensitive to sugar, so that they too can enjoy the consumption of tonics and gin and tonics without compromise.
Balatonic is already available in some delicatessens in Budapest, but you can also order it from the brand’s webshop at any time. Give it a try!