What Is Tonic Water Made From?
Getting to know gin's best friend
We've gotten to know gin over the years, but what about the standup guy making sure his boozy friend doesn't get too out of hand? Tonic is always in the running for best supporting mixer, so here's exactly what's going on.
Tonic water can contain many ingredients, including sweeteners, herbs and spices, but it always starts with one ingredient: quinine. Quinine comes from the South American chincona tree and was orinigally used in higher doses to treat malaria (useful!). Although we usually associate G&T's with the Brits, they didn't get their hands on quinine until 1825, when officers in the Indian army improved the taste of their malaria medicine with soda water and sugar. Once they had escaped the mosquitoes and returned home, they added gin to celebrate, and cocktail hour was also improved (especially when tonic eventually traveled to Spain).
Now that you've brushed up on the facts, it's your call whether to stick with the Schweppes or get fancy with one of these tonics.
More Whatchamacallit on Food Republic: