History of the Gin and Tonic

Gin & Tonic

After having my laptop and camera stolen I am back online. The past weeks have been trying to say the least. I’ve learned a lot about backing up your data in multiple formats. Depressed from my loss, I turned to two old friends for comfort, Gin & Tonic. The story of the classic drink has always been interesting to me so I thought I’d share what I know about my favorite alcoholic drink.

The Gin

The history of gin is somewhat disputed, however we know that it dates back to Holland in the 16th – 17th centuries. Many sources credit Franciscus Sylvius with the invention of gin, yet, it is also believed that English soldiers fighting during the 80 years war in the Netherlands were already drinking “gin”, which led to the term Dutch Courage.

The Tonic

Tonic water contains quinine, which occurs naturally in the bark of the cinchona tree. Discovered in South America, it was brought to Europe by the Jesuits. Originally, tonic water was just carbonated water and quinine although it now resembles a soft drink with the addition of sugar and other sweeteners.

A Marriage Made in India

What I find most interesting about the gin & tonic is the story behind its creation. During British rule in India malaria was constant problem for colonialists. To combat the dangerous disease they drank tonic water. Since the quinine gave the drink a very bitter taste, one day some bloak began taking his daily dose of tonic water with gin. Now I can relax (or kill my pain) with this refreshing drink.

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