Mark Langdon, a lifelong gin and tonic lover, takes his mixer seriously. So much so, he shelved the store-bought stuff in 2005, opting for his own homemade tonic instead. A careful brew of herbs, spices, lemongrass, and fresh-squeezed orange juice yielded a drink that tasted better than anything Langdon made with the premade tonics. Even better, his version contained less sugar and calories.
Within ten years, Langdon, his daughter, and her husband (Alison and Brad Knaus) started ACE Basin Cocktail Co. in Charleston to make Langdon’s cherished recipe available to the world. Their products, Langdon’s Original Tonic and Langdon’s Original Sugar-Free Tonic received a warm welcome from Charlestonians and quickly gained a following in other markets, too.
The mixer caught the eyes of Charleston restauranteurs and beverage professionals, too. Both tonics found a ready home at Zeppelin Pizza Co. and Garage 75 in Charleston. Owner Maggie Fitts designed two of the menu’s cocktails for Langdon’s Original Tonic. A customer favorite is the BLT—or Bulliet Bourbon, lemon, and Langdon’s Original Tonic. They carry the sugar-free version, too, and will happily pour it upon request.
In addition to loving the tonic, Fitts’ decision to use it is personal, too—Langdon is her uncle.
As anyone familiar with Charleston knows, Charlestonians love local stuff. Discovering a locally crafted tonic instantly caught the attention of the crew at Charleston Distilling Co. The distillery makes their spirits from entirely South Carolina-grown grains, and Langdon’s Original Tonic fits their brand’s theme. After the owners, distillers, and bar staff tasted the mixer, they knew it needed to be incorporated into their menu.
"We love that it’s all natural,” Alison Curry says. “It has just enough lemon, lime, and herbs to match perfectly with our gin.” They added the Charleston Rita and Langdon’s Bloody Orange onto their menu about a month ago. “Everybody just loves it. When you get positive feedback, it’s a good thing!” Curry says.
Can’t wait to take a Charleston bar crawl? Shake up one of these beverages yourself with one of ACE Basin Cocktail Co.'s tonics:
The Drinks We're Tonic-ing About
Langdon’s Bloody Orange