What’s the deal with this coffee tonic everyone’s making on Instagram?

Is this coffee tonic our new summer drink?

Coffee tonic - Iced coffee in a tall glass with cream poured over
(Image credit: Getty/ Kseniya Ovchinnikova)

The hot chocolate bomb drink was the "It" drink last year, when we couldn’t go a day without seeing the aesthetically appealing cuppa on our Instagram and TikTok feeds. But now, a fresh, coffee-based beverage is vying for the top spot. Meet the coffee tonic, a cocktail that blends bubbles, coffee and ice—sounds delicious, right?

If you’re anything like us and crave cool iced lattes or frappuccinos throughout spring and summer, you're going to love this new chilled coffee trend.

Of course, like most things these days, the new trend has blown up on social, with the hashtag #coffeetonic climbing from 2,000 to 8,000 posts on Instagram in just a week, and TikTok's hashtag #toniccoffee getting 6,000 views in its first 24 hours. Now compared to the most famous TikTok hacks around, that might not seem like much, but the coffee views are steadily increasing day by day.

What is a coffee tonic?

The odd combination is made up of just coffee and tonic water, but it’s allegedly so versatile that it can be improved with a drop of lemon or sprinkle of spice. The citric acid in the tonic, according to coffee lovers, balances out the acidity of the coffee, resulting in a clean, bubbly finish. And since tonic has its own lace of sweetness, no additional sugar is needed.

While the beverage has been around for some time, it only became popular in 2014. Since iced coffee beverages are now more mainstream, 2021 is set to be the year coffee tonics really take off. Just a little tip—each variant of the caffeine craze tastes even better with a handy metal straw, which prioritizes sustainability, too!


Espresso mint tonic! #food #coffee

♬ Summer Days - Martin Garrix / Macklemore / Patrick Stump

So how do you make coffee tonic at home?

  1. To begin, fill a glass halfway with ice and tonic water. 
  2. Pour a double espresso (or cold brew) into the tonic slowly. This helps the tonic and coffee blend together and form a creamy, bitter layer on top. 
  3. Mix in your favorite fruits or spices for an extra boost.
  4. Or, if you're feeling fancy, add gin for an added kick, and you've got yourself a spiked coffee tonic that’ll be your new go-to summer cocktail.
Kudzai Chibaduki

Since December 2020, Kudzai has worked as a trainee journalist at FUTURE, writing about fashion, entertainment and beauty content for My Imperfect Life.

Kudzai previously worked as a freelance fashion wardrobe stylist, directing magazine photoshoots and coordinating the fashion direction of recording artists. A fully qualified Journalism and Media graduate from De Mont Fort University, Kudzai graduated in the summer of 2020.