Most two part drinks have very little history. The combination of a liquor with a wash is normally just a way to cut the strong taste of a booze or to add a little flavor to or hide the liquor within a cocktail. The gin and tonic, however, has a slightly more interesting history.
Roots in Medicine
Both gin and tonic have origins deeply rooted in medicine.
Gin first appeared in the mid-1600s when Dr. Franciscus de la Boë, a professor of medicine at Leyden, Holland, created a juniper flavored diuretic that he called Genever, the Dutch word for juniper. He intended the concoction to be used for kidney disorders, but it quickly grew in popularity as an enjoyable spirit.
When the British began to populate India, many people contracted malaria. Tonic water was introduced as a remedy to malaria, due to its high levels of quinine. Because of its bitter taste, it was difficult to get people to drink it, despite its helpful effects. In order to make the drink more tolerable, gin was added to the mix.
Just as gin had become popular as a spirit centuries before, the gin and tonic began to take on a new role as a favorite drink of the people, rather than a medicine.
The Gin and Tonic
- 2 oz Gin
- 5 oz Tonic
- Lime cut into wedges
Combine the gin and tonic in a highball glass. Garnish with a lime wedge. Enjoy.