The History of the Gin and Tonic

The gin and tonic is one of the classic cocktails of the world, available almost anywhere, and inevitably one of the most refreshing.

It has a fascinating history, spanning time, countries, and even the world of medicine and health. Alton Brown gives us a brief history of one of the world’s most popular cocktails. We’ve included some historical references to gin, just for added flavor.

As per Wikipedia’s description:

The cocktail was introduced by the army of the British East India Company in India. In India and other tropical regions, malaria was a persistent problem. In the 1700s, Scottish doctor George Cleghorn studied how quinine, a traditional cure for malaria, could be used to prevent the disease. The quinine was drunk in tonic water but the bitter taste was unpleasant. British officers in India in the early 19th century took to adding a mixture of water, sugar, lime and gin to the quinine in order to make the drink more palatable, thus gin and tonic was born. Soldiers in India were already given a gin ration, and the sweet concoction made sense. Since it is no longer used as an antimalarial, tonic water today contains much less quinine, is usually sweetened, and is consequently much less bitter.


Gin Lane, a famous piece of art made in the 1700s to warn of the dire consequences of gin drinking.

the gin and tonic’s history throughout India and other parts of the world.

Humphrey Bogart tucking into a case of gin.

A particularly refreshing looking gin and tonic with cucumber and rosemary