Tonic water’s history dates back to 1638, when Spanish soldiers seeking a cure for malaria sought out local Inca Indian medicine men for an antidote. The Inca had long used ground bark of the native Quinquina tree, which grew on the slopes of the Andes Mountains, for a number of illnesses. This bark mixed in a “powerful potion” worked well for these soldiers’ ailments. The ground bark, called Quinine, soon made its way around the world. It became a very valuable malaria medicine reaching costs of its weight in gold. Mixed with soda water, another popular cure al, it became the ever-present Tonic.
The miracle cure was hocked at every corner drug store, and traveling salesman’s suitcase. Scientists soon discovered a way to produce a synthetic substitute of quinine and corporations began producing tonic water with this cheaper, artificial quinine. I have discovered a new tonic called Q Tonic, and it is my preferred tonic for this cocktail. Q Tonic uses natural ingredients such as agave as a sweetener instead of Cain or corn sugar, and handpicked Peruvian quinine. It is healthier, better tasting, and more authentic tonic water.
- The Gin:
Admittedly, I have not always been a gin Drinker. However, I have found with the right cocktail, and of course the right gin it is quite the pleasant spirit. A distilled grain alcohol very similar to vodka, gin is flavor enhanced with many different botanicals, especially juniper berries. Dating back to the 11th century gin was used as yet another cure-all by monks for just about anything. It became very popular in England as an unlicensed spirit that just about anyone could produce. It soon was being produced in larger volumes than beer. It also became popular in the states during prohibition, when bootleggers made and sold bathtub gin as a cheap and easy alternative to the drinks everyone was used to. The juniper flavor of gin masked the bad flavors of other such home-made concoctions.
There are numerous ways to enjoy gin, but me being the traditionalist prefers the gin and tonic. There are also numerous varieties of gin I like such as Bombay Sapphire, or Beefeater, but my choice for this drink is Tanqueray. Of course I don’t mind Tanqueray Rangpur with the hint of lime either. Charles Tanqueray set up Bloomsbury distillery in London in 1830 and after experimenting, came up with the perfect blend of ingredients and Tanqueray was born.
- The Drink:
The Gin and Tonic was first enjoyed by British officers in 1825 improving upon their bitter anti-malaria medicine, quinine tonic, by mixing it with gin. Instead of taking their medicine at dawn, the officers enjoyed it at cocktail hour. The original gin and tonic soon became the quintessential drink of the British Empire.To make, mix 3oz of gin and 4oz of tonic and garnish with a lime. This beverage is the perfect drink for a cool spring evening when all you want to do is relax and savor the flavors the up and coming season has to offer. It is also a dangerously easy to drink cocktail served at a hot, summer, back yard party. In short, this drink is swell.