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The Espresso and Tonic: The Coffee Drink of the Summer?

By Emilie Ruscoe | April 30, 2015 9:41am
 Espresso and tonic in its native NYC habitat.
Espresso and tonic in its native NYC habitat.
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Photo Courtesy of Box Kite NYC: https://instagram.com/boxkitenyc/

The methods for making and drinking coffee are ever evolving. This past winter, city coffee fiends drank it with spiced coconut oil, and the winter before, they tried their coffee with butter. If you have strong opinions about pour-over technique and know just how you like your cold brew, there's a new coffee trend to try:

Box Kite New York City, located in the East Village and on the Upper West Side, is serving a cold, bubbly concoction that's made by adding a shot of espresso to a glass of tonic water. The result is not unlike a cocktail, and tastes surprisingly sweet even without the addition of sugar and cream, which means it may have the makings of a major New York City summertime drink trend.

The "'spro and tonic," as it's listed on Box Kite's menu, is not new to this world: Angelenos have it at G&B Coffee, San Franciscans imbibe it at Saint Frank Coffee, and RISD students down it at Bolt Coffee in Providence. Sometimes referred to as a black tonic, the drink is an import, with iterations on coffee shop menus around the world.

Box Kite originally introduced the drink this past fall as a seasonal special prepared with pumpkin seed oil and garnished with concord grapes, but a more straightforward version is what is currently on the menu for $4.75. The espresso used in the shop changes regularly, but Fever Tree furnishes the in-house tonic. Imagine a more grownup version of Manhattan Special's Coffee Soda, if you will.