The Gin Joint Now Offers Custom Bottled Tonics

Fancy mint-citrus or tamarind soda at your cocktail party? Bartender Nicole Hassoun is at your service.

By: Jessica Voelker

Punched up with flavor combinations such as purple basil and pink peppercorn, bartender Nicole Hassoun’s custom tonics have earned the Gin Joint—the twinkly little boĆ®te below the New Heights restaurant in Woodley Park—a following among gin-and-tonic lovers. So much so that she even teaches a popular class on making tonic (the weekly lessons are sold out through September, but check the website in a few weeks for an updated schedule).

Hassoun says students enjoy learning the process by which she infuses soda with flavor combinations like basil and fennel and lime and orange-flower water, but in the end they just want her to make the flavored sparklers for them. Now she’s doing just that via a line of to-go sodas called Chronic Tonics. (Think of it “like a growler program” at a brewery, offers New Heights and Gin Joint owner Kavita Singh.) Ginger and citrus tonics—lime, lemon, and orange—are always available, as is the orange-blossom-and-lime soda and rhubarb spice, with juniper, cardamom, and other spices. 

Hassoun also has a roster of special tonics: lemongrass-coriander, basil-fennel, tomato-basil, mint-citrus, black-plum-thyme, watercress-arugula, hibiscus, chamomile, grapefruit, sweet corn, pumpkin spice, tamarind, and purple-basil-and-pink-peppercorn. Some of those are dependent on seasonal availability, but if she can get the ingredients fresh, she’ll make the soda—just call or e-mail newheightsrestaurant@comcast.net 24 hours in advance.

Customers can also work with Hassoun to create bespoke tonics suited to their needs. Let’s say you’re having a cocktail party and want two custom sodas—one to hold up against robust Tanqueray, and another to complement the cucumber and rose petal notes in Hendrick’s. Give her 48 hours, and she’ll come up with two concoctions designed just for you.

Chronic Tonics cost $15 per 16-ounce bottle, which holds enough soda to make 30 cocktails. Cheers.