THE ORIGIN OF GIN & TONIC
Gin and Tonic is a popular cocktail typically served in a highball with lots of ice. The ratio of gin to tonic can vary between 1:1 and 1:4 depending on the user’s preference. In US, Canada, Australia and UK the drink is commonly called ‘G and T’, in Germany, Italy and France it is often called ‘Gin Tonic’, ‘Ginto’ in Belgium and Netherlands, ‘GT’ in Scandinavian countries, and ‘Gin and Tonic’ in India and neighbouring countries. However, the origin of Gin & Tonic actually goes a long way back. In the 9th century, Arabian alchemists invented the Alembic still, which was used to make high alcohol spirits infused with various botanicals. Around 1270, Dutch monks started producing a white spirit with juniper berries, which was then called gin. Gin was initially consumed in Netherlands, but quickly became popular with British soldiers as well as they fought with each other. It was usually drunk neat or with hot water.
Tonic water has its origin in South America, where the bark of the Chincona tree was used as a treatment to Malaria. As a powder (Quinine) it was mixed with water and sugar, and consumed as a medicine. It was only in the 18th century that carbonated water was invented, that lead to the widespread usage of Tonic Water as a tasty everyday drink.
Then in the 19th century the British East India Company soldiers started adding gin to tonic water that gave a nice high while helping fight the widespread malaria, and thus gin and tonic was born. The drink is known to have saved thousands of lives. Ever since, gin and tonic is referred to by many as the greatest cocktail ever made. In fact, G&T’s origin in India is the reason why the classic tonic water variant is called ‘Indian Tonic Water’.
Today, there are hundreds of gin brands offering a plethora of flavours and botanicals. There are various methods of making gin, which our next article titled ‘WHAT IS LONDON DRY GIN?’ talks about in detail. Tonic water too comes in multiple new flavours such as Mint, Bitter Lemon, Lavender, regular Indian tonic etc. People have started adding garnishes to their G&T and there are unimaginable variations to the cocktail. Thankfully, the essence of a G&T is still intact today, including the use of Juniper berries in gin, and Quinine in Tonic water. We are glad that some things haven’t changed with time, and that two unlikely products mixed with each other to create something so wonderful!
Salut! Now that you know a bit of history, do you feel like having a gin and tonic yourself? Well, if you do, don’t hesitate to try PEER’s exquisite tonic water range, which come in delicious flavours such as Mint Tonic, Bitter Lemon Tonic, and even a Zero Calorie and Zero Sugar Indian Tonic Water variant. For now, we are just thrilled that you read a bit of G&T’s history!