All thanks to Scottish doctor, George Cleghorn, for discovering quinine (a predecessor to tonic water) could be used to treat Malaria. This turned out to be a pseudo discovery but Gin and other solubles were used to make the mixture more palatable, and so the Gin and Tonic was borne. It has since been found to treat softer ailments, such as a long day at work or parched throats on a hot day.
A slice of lime, a sip of gin and a sip of tonic are all bitter when consumed separately but when mixed they form a refreshing flavour that doesn’t at all resemble the bitterness of its parts. The chemical structures attract one another, apparently masking much of the bitterness. Dale DeGroff, the King of Cocktails, says that you should always request bottled tonic due to tap tonic often being a fake spin-off.
Referred to has GnT by most working-class hipsters these days, the Spanish shook things up by introducing the Copa de Balon – a tall, balloon styled glass, that vaguely resembles fruit or salad bowls with all their ingredients loaded in. This glass is used to enhance the scent and flavour of the ingredients and reflect the Gin’s botanical composition. Copa de Balon has become extremely popular, leading to Gin and Tonic bars sprouting up all over the place.
The traditional garnish is lime that gets a slight squeeze into the cocktail before placing it into the drink. Lemons have been used by the more frugal Gin drinkers and the combination of the two even has a name: “Evans”. The consensus from the veteran Gin brands is that only lime should be used.
The British East India Company introduced the Gin and Tonic to the army in the 1800s. It was a concoction of water, sugar, lime, and Gin that was added to the quinine (mentioned in the beginning). The soldiers already had a Gin ration so using it in a better-tasting mixture made sense. There is now less quinine in tonic water due to it being used for recreational consumption, strangely enough, the amount of sugar in tonic water is on par with most sodas.
International Gin & Tonic Day is celebrated worldwide on 19 October.