In this post we are going to talk about the origin and evolution of this popular cocktail, the Gin Tonic, so we are talking about the origin of the Gin Tonic.
ORIGIN OF THE TONIC WATER
To talk about the origin of the Gin Tonic we will first have to talk about the origin of the tonic, tonic water, or simply tonic, depending on the century. To speak of the origin of the tonic, as on many occasions, is to speak of the origin of a medicine or curative remedy.
The tonic is a slightly sugary sparkling water with quinine. Quinine is what provided the healing properties discovered by the Spanish in the 16th century in Peru. Quinine or chichona was used to cure the strong fevers of the Birrey woman of Peru, the Countess of Chinchón, on the recommendation of Diego Torres de Vazquez, a Jesuit who knew the properties of this alkaloid from the bark of the Quino tree. The indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon already knew about the therapeutic properties of the Quino bark, among which are fighting malaria and many types of feverish ailments. The Jesuits, among other things, compiled everything related to the natural medicine of the indigenous people of the new world.
Originally, quinine powder was applied in water and drank as a remedy, but in Europe it was soon given a new format by adding sparkling water and sugar to promote its consumption, since in those years it was a very difficult remedy to take for its bitterness.
TONIC WATER IN EUROPE
In Europe for several centuries, quinine brought from the new world was traded to combat many ailments. This market was practically monopolized by Spaniards for almost 3 centuries and more specifically by the Jesuits. With the cultivation of quinine in other parts of the planet, the monopoly ended. By adding sparkling water and sugar to quinine, it became a refreshing tonic that also lowered the fever. With this mixture it was much easier to drink, but it was still much more bitter than the current tonic. It was an indispensable part of the soldiers who were in English colonies with tropical and hot climates. Malaria was deadly and very common.
ORIGIN OF THE GIN AND TONIC IN INDIA
In the 19th century, English soldiers were focused on consolidating their territories in India, and tonic water was a basic part of their obligatory field luggage. It was a tonic that was very effective and likely saved many lives in those contests. English soldiers’ fondness for gin had been an unconditional friendship for at least a century before the arrival of the tonic. For that reason the mixture between both liquids was a love at first sight.
The tonic of that time could contain approximately 100 times more quantity of quinine than the tonic that you currently drink. If the tonic is bitter for you, now imagine drinking that drink… essential to add lemon. With the lemon we already drink it much better. If you also have gin by hand, you´ll already have the first Gin Tonic. Here the origin of the Gin Tonic.
Remind you that gin emerged as a medicine too, so the English soldiers must have thought two things. A; medication plus double-acting medication, and another; if in this war and with this terrible heat, among malaria sufferers, perhaps we will die…. be happy with this combination that can save me and make me happy … G&T.
We invite you to discover our article on the history of gin.
We hope you liked our post about the origin of the Gin Tonic. We love to share with you everything we are learning about the culture of our world and our spirits. If you want to visit our Bull Terrier gins you can do it in our Bull Terrier Shop.
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If you want you can visit our video to prepare a classic Classic Gin Tonic