Gin and Tonic

Why does gin and tonic taste so good?

The Gin and Tonic was invented in the early 1800s by the British Army who was prescribed with quinine to prevent Malaria, and by this, it helped Britain rule over India. This is clearly a cornerstone of opinions, but hey: Gin and Tonic. These days it is a classic, popular drink that is enjoyed by most of the humans all over the world.

What’s Gin?

Gin is an alcoholic spirit, clear in color, distilled from grain or malt and flavored with juniper. Evil tongues could even claim that Gin is “just” juniper flavored vodka.

Of course that isn’t “just” like that, there are actual regulations to what you can or can’t call a gin. For example, it has to have an alcohol content of at least 37.5% in the EU, but minimum 40% in the US. There are many other legally binding rules, but it’s also interesting to know, that certain geographical areas don’t use any restrictions for some gins. Such a gin is e.g. the Plymouth Gin.

Distilled and flavored Gins exist too, their cultural significance is recognized but not legally defined. Such gins are e.g. the Old Tom Gin and the Sloe Gin.

In the above photo is the famous Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin, reminding one on the origins of this beverage, which has an alcohol volume of 40%.

What’s Tonic?

Tonic is a non-alcoholic refreshment drink, that consists mainly of water and some added sugar and quinine. Visually it reminds one on water but it tastes like a bitter lemonade. It’s nothing new: a guy called Erasmus Bond made the first commercial tonic water already in 1858. Mr. Bond mixed carbonated water with quinine and various flavorings and called it “Improved Aerated Tonic Liquid”.

As of today, you can find an enormous range of Tonic but at the same time, today’s Tonic is far less bitter than the original. I guess we’ve all gone soft and weak and the market simply follows our habits.

Tonic might look like water but there’s a difference that can’t be seen immediately by the naked eye: the quinine content of the tonic water fluoresces under ultraviolet light. That is nothing dangerous, it’s simply the normal reaction of quinine to UV light.

Attention: quinine is actually a treatment against malaria (can be used as a prophylactic too, in advance as protection against malaria, same the British Army did). Quinine can also affect the cardiovascular system, pregnancy, etc. and therefore should be drunken only moderately. Unless you are in danger of getting malaria. Read more…

Indeed, the Gin and Tonic was invented in the early 1800’s by the British Army who was prescribed with quinine to prevent Malaria. (Quinine itself was already known since the XVIIth century and was won from the bark from the Quinquina tree in Peru by Spanish colonists). Here is an example of such a quinine-producing-tree:

In case you are reading this blog now and wondering if you are in serious need of quinine, please see below Malaria Map. Since this is just a simplified map, in case of doubts contact a nearby doctor to receive factually correct and actualized information. Because, you know, I can’t believe those bloody suckers respect the country borders so clean as drawn up.

As of now, the biggest Tonic Water brands are: by smoy, unchanged

Is Gin and Tonic a cocktail?

Yesss! Not only is it a cocktail, but also the most basic one that is very easy to make: simply pour gin and tonic into a glass and eventually add ice cubes and lemon slices. It is easy to create a beautiful and tasty cocktail in less than a minute!

When you create the cocktail, use about 1 part gin to 1 to 3 parts tonic, depending on your choice of taste.

Why does Gin and Tonic taste good and can I make it better?

The tiny gin molecules mix with the tiny tonic molecules and the end result is experienced usually as tasty, or yummy. That is common in all kind of cooking, baking, seasoning, etc.: some things match well and some things are questionable. The mix of Gin and Tonic is not questionable though, at least that’s what most people say since over 200 years.

There are a few tricks, tips and ideas: for example you could add bitter lemon as a great alternative to tonic with gin.

If you feel fancy a few experiments, try to add salt: funnily, the mixture becomes sweeter! I was pretty surprised about this; how about you? unchanged

These foods can be used with interesting effects on your Tonic and Gin (of course don’t use them all at once, just one or two at a time):

  • fresh pomegranate seeds
  • a few blueberries
  • lime juice
  • sugar syrup
  • ginger slices/beer
  • strawberry slices
  • orange slices/juice
  • cucumber slices/juice
  • elderflower syrup
  • mint leaves/syrup

In case you put everything in one glass, please let me know about the culinary outcome in the comment section. That sure would be an experience!

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