Gin & Tonic

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Gin & Tonic

A Gin & Tonic is a cocktail made with gin and tonic water poured over ice. It is usually garnished with a slice or wedge of lemon or lime but, with the huge amount of new gins on the market, anything goes with the new flavours on offer.

History

The cocktail was introduced in India by the army of the British East India Company. Malaria was a persistent problem and in the 1700s it was discovered by Scottish doctor George Cleghorn that quinine could be used to prevent and treat the disease. The quinine was drunk in tonic water, however the bitter taste was unpleasant. British officers in India in the early 19th century took to adding a mixture of water, sugar, lime and gin to the quinine in order to make the drink more palatable, thus gin and tonic was born. Soldiers in India were already given a gin ration, and the sweet concoction made sense.

Back in the day, tonic water was infused heavily with quinine, an extract from the South American cinchona tree. Known among the indigenous population as the “fever tree” because its bark was able to stop chills, cinchona bark was first brought to Europe in the 1640s when it was shown to cure and prevent malaria.

These days tonic water is much tastier, with smaller doses of quinine and more sweetening agents, but the gin and tonic is no less popular. Though we may quibble over the finer details (how much ice to use, lemon versus lime versus cucumber), we can all agree: the timeless gin and tonic really does cure all ills. Except hangovers, that is.

How to make one yourself

The amount of gin varies according to taste. Suggested ratios of gin to tonic range between 1:1 and 1:3. Pour the gin over ice and add the tonic water. We love Fever Tree!

Now that was easy!