History of Gin Tonic
Gin has thrilled the world and is one of the most popular spirits in the world. And with gin comes tonic. They cannot be separated from each other. But who was the first to mix these two drinks together? The classic gin tonic is one of the most popular drinks in the world. All you need is gin, tonic, and a slice of lemon.
Gin has impressed the world and is one of the most popular spirits in the world. And with gin comes tonic. They can’t go without each other. But who was the first to mix these two drinks together? The classic gin and tonic is one of the most popular drinks in the world. It has a unique taste and is extremely easy to make. All you need is gin, tonic, and a slice of lemon.
But do you know the story behind the gin and tonic? The story is very interesting and reveals that it was actually gin and tonic that helped the British to rule India. But that’s not all. The taste of gin and tonic hides chemistry and reveals why it is so good.
History of tonic
The story goes that in the early 17th century, Spanish colonizers discovered that the bark of the Peruvian cinchona tree cured malaria. Since the bark of this tree was a cure and remedy for many illnesses, they wanted to import it to Europe, but the Peruvians banned it.
The most effective ingredient in the bark is quinine. In 1817, two French scientists discovered a process for extracting quinine from the bark. From then on, quinine powder was available to cure malaria. It was this powder that British soldiers mixed with water to create tonic water.
At first, most of the quinine was obtained from trees in Peru. Then, in the 1860s, seeds were smuggled and sold to the Dutch. They planted plantations in Java and Indonesia, and thus took over the entire market. During World War II, the Japanese occupied Java, and quinine gradually began to run out. To prevent a shortage of quinine, they searched for other solutions and tried to produce artificial quinine. Fortunately, they succeeded. After the war, large companies that produced tonic began to use artificial quinine for their drinks.
Tonic water thus lost its most basic ingredient. Today, most brands use artificial quinine, fake sugar, and other artificial ingredients. Leading tonic brands have returned to tradition and use natural quinine.
When was the first bottled tonic produced?
In 1858, Erasmus Bond made the first commercial tonic. He mixed quinine with various flavors, added water and sodium carbonate. He called it “Improved Tonic Liquid.” The drink became a sensation and a success. In 1870, Schweppes made a similar drink and called it Indian Quinine Tonic.
Especially in Britain, bottled tonic became very popular. Today, you can find different types and flavors of tonic water. There are still tonics named after their history and our knowledge of tonic development. For example, we have the brand Fever Tree (named after the quinine tree that prevented fever) and the brand Erasmus Bond (named after the man who first bottled tonic). Tonic, as we know it today, is much less bitter than the original tonic.
History of gin
Gin is a colorless spirit made from fermented grains and a variety of botanicals, herbs, and fruits. By law, one of the ingredients must be juniper berries. In fact, gin has a very similar base to vodka, but it gets its character from being redistilled with a variety of natural ingredients, often including citrus. Like with tonic, there are countless variations of gin, and as long as it is sufficiently strong and has a juniper taste, it can be called gin.
Some believe that Italian monks were experimenting with juniper berries in the 11th century, which led to the creation of a gin-like beverage. Others believe that gin was originally created as a medicine to cure the Black Death. However, more reliable sources attribute the invention of gin to a Dutch physician who created a medicine for stomach and kidney problems in the mid-17th century. The medicine was made in a similar way to gin and contained similar ingredients.
In the 17th century, the reigning king of England declared gin the official drink of the court. Laws were so lax that anyone could distill gin, which led to excessive drinking. New laws were eventually put in place to limit gin distillation.
Up until the 20th century, gin was often flavored with turpentine, which gave it a woody taste that complemented the juniper flavor. It’s also known that English soldiers during the Thirty Years’ War drank gin in the Netherlands to calm their nerves before battle. While we can’t say for certain who invented gin, it is clear that the English are the ones who made it popular.
The origin of the cult cocktail gin and tonic
It all began in the early 19th century when British soldiers were in India. Malaria was a widespread disease and doctors prescribed quinine bark to alleviate its symptoms. Quinine is very bitter, so soldiers mixed it with water, lemon juice, and sugar. To reduce the pain, they also added gin. Sometimes they added lime or lemon. And so, the gin and tonic was born. The soldiers turned the medicine into a cocktail
Why does gin and tonic taste so good?
Gin and tonic has a very distinctive taste. This drink is bitter, but it is a winning combination and is liked by most people. When we mix gin with tonic, the molecules in gin attract similar molecules in tonic. These molecules form a whole that gives gin and tonic a unique taste. You can also do an interesting experiment. Pour yourself a glass of tonic and try it. Then, add a little salt to that glass, stir, and try it again. The tonic will be less bitter. Interesting, isn’t it?