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Meet the C&T, iced coffee's bubbly new cousin

It turns out that tonic doesn’t only go with gin.


A coppery-coloured espresso suspended over a transparent, bubbly bed of tonic water—it’s easy to see the appeal.

When you think of summertime sipping, two drinks immediately spring to mind: iced coffee and gin and tonic. The former has grown in popularity in recent years. Before then, iced coffee was nothing more than leftover coffee popped in the fridge for later. Now, however, it has become a plaything for baristas, the secret to nailing the perfect Instagram shot for influencers, and the buzziest drink of summer. There's just something about the combination of toasty, roasted coffee and icy, creamy sweetness that as soon as the temperatures rise into double digits, our bodies instantly crave. Then there's the gin and tonic. A perfect blend of bitterness with a touch of sweetness, the glass packed with ice, and a soft blue glow from the tonic. It's a year-round drink but best enjoyed in the heat when nothing else will taste so refreshing. Up until now, when it came to deciding what to drink in the summer months, the choice between the two was near impossible to make. But it appears the newest drink trend for summer 2021, combines the best of both. 

Enter: The C&T. As the name suggests, the drink comprises of coffee and tonic water and whilst it sounds dubious, it took the US by storm around five years ago and has become popular again thanks to social media. On Instagram, the hashtag '#coffeetonic' grew from two thousand to eight thousand in a week, and over on TikTok, the hashtag '#toniccoffee' has ten thousand views, increasing each day

The drink, which is also sometimes known as an espresso tonic, is made most often with a double shot of espresso poured into a glass of tonic water over ice. It's a combination that seems so inherently wrong given the tart taste of both coffee and tonic but TikTok users insist it's the ultimate hybrid drink for summer. According to one user, "the quinine in the tonic complements the acidity of the coffee, making for a smooth and bubbly finish - and since tonic has its own lace of sweetness, no extra sugar is needed".

And as is the case with most viral food trends, people have already begun to put their own spin on the beverage, with many adding a sugar syrup to sweeten it, or even adding flavours such as chocolate, raspberry, orange and cinnamon.

And the best bit? It's far simpler to make at home than iced coffee. 

C&T Recipe


  • 170ml tonic water
  • 60ml espresso, cooled
  • Ice cubes


  1. First, add the tonic water to your glass and top to the brim with ice cubes.
  2. Next, slowly pour the coffee over the ice and tonic. Doing this carefully will allow the tonic to mix into the coffee creating a visually striking layer

READ MORE: The best new drink launches for outdoor sipping this summer