Clayton’s Kola Tonic

I’m delighted to have renewed my association with Clayton’s, it’s a product I’ve adored since the first time I went to Barbados in 2003. After a succession of owners, Clayton’s is now made exclusively in Barbados but it originates from London.

Many of Battersea’s leading working class activists in the late 19th Century were supporters of the Temperance Movement and supported the prohibition of alcohol.

The Pure Water Company of Queenstown Road in Battersea produced a stimulating tonic designed to appeal to reformed Whisky drinkers with a recipe created by the Clayton brothers John and Adam. Using west African Kola nut extract, the caffeine was intended to give a buzz that would help to wean people off alcohol.

There are seven cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book which use Claytons Kola Tonic, here’s one of them.

Clayton’s Special Cocktail

½ Bacardi Rum
¼ Kola Tonic
¼ Sirop-de-Citron
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass 


Here’s another of the Clayton’s Cocktails from the Savoy Cocktail Book – Ideal for a sunny day!

Kola Tonic Cocktail

1/3 Dry Gin
2/3 Kola Tonic
2 Dashes Orange Bitters


The Filmograph is another drink which features in the Savoy Cocktail Book. In the Savoy book, The recipe is

½ Brandy
¼ Kola Tonic
¼ Sirop-de-Citron

The Filmograph is rediscovered in Ted Haigh’s Vintage Cocktails & Spirits where he also plays around with the recipe, suggesting using lemon juice instead of syrup to make it less sweet.

2 Ounces Brandy
¾ Ounces Lemon Juice
½ Ounce Kola Tonic

Shake the drink well and double strain into a coupette.
Garnish with a lemon wedge if desired.


Or quite, simply enjoy it the way they do in Barbados as a Grizzly

The Grizzly

1 part Clayton’s Kola Tonic
3 parts Jamaican Ginger beer
Squeeze Lime

Serve long over ice
Garnish with a lime wedge


I’m already working on some new recipes and serves with Clayton’s and I look forward to unveiling them soon.


2 thoughts on “Clayton’s Kola Tonic”

  1. Hello Jamie,

    My name is Kay Langwenya, UK Ambassador of the Claytons Kola Tonic. Enjoying the feedback and experimental progress you have made with the Kola Tonic- wondering if you ever did work on any other recipes following this post. It would be great to hear from you if so!

    Thank you,

    Kay Langwenya


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