What Is the History of the Gin and Tonic?
While officers in the British East India Company were in control of India, they were exposed to a threat they had never faced before—malaria. Scottish physician George Cleghorn studied the disease, determining that quinine, derived from the bark of the cinchona tree, could be used as an effective treatment for malaria (and is still sometimes used today). Quinine is incredibly bitter, and would be diluted with water and mixed with sugar in order to create a tonic. Since the soldiers were given a gin ration, adding this spirit to the mixture created a cocktail that was not only delicious but could keep them from getting sick.
Tonic water of today does not contain the same amount of quinine, so a gin and tonic cannot be used to treat malaria.
Gin and Tonic Recipe
Prep Time3 min
Total Time3 min
- 3 ounces gin
- 4 ounces tonic water
- ½ ounce fresh lime juice (optional)
- Garnish with a fresh lime wedge or lime slice
- Add ice cubes to a collins or highball glass.
- Fill the glass with gin (and lime if you’re including).
- Top with tonic water.
- Give a quick stir.
- Garnish with your slice or wedge of lime.
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