Knowing the history of different dishes and drinks in the world always involves entering a fan of the most colorful and ethnic, although we are left with one of the great curiosities of India: the origin of gin and tonic as a world drink.


From Holland to India: the origin of gin and tonic

Origin of the gin and tonic

Gin Tonic. © Pixabay

Many times we have seen the posters of a gin brand presenting an Indian man lined in colors. Then we have a glass of Bombay Sapphire and choose how many of the Indian spices  we can include in the terra-cotta’s flagship drink. Yes, there is much of India in the origin of gin and tonic .

To conceive the origin of gin and tonic means doing it through the two drinks that make it up: gin and tonic , both born at different times and countries. In the case of gin, the name of this alcoholic beverage does not come from the Swiss homonyms capital, but from French, the translation of juniper being the genièvre , the main fruit with which gin is distilled .

The discovery of the gin was carried out by the German physician based in Holland Franciscus Sylvius , at some point in the seventeenth century, as a combination of corn, wheat and juniper berries. However, this beverage conceived as a medicine began to gain greater popularity, arriving in the United Kingdom after the thirties in 1648 from the Netherlands .

But no, we do not forget the tonic , that other component whose history is even more interesting, being linked to the presence of the bark of the Andean cinchona tree , an element used for the first time in 1632 by the wife of Viceroy I of Peru , the Countess of Chinchón, to heal malaria. Almost two centuries later, French scientists Pierre Joseph Pelletier and Joseph Bienaimé Caventou managed to extract the component that we all know today, quinine, to heal malaria to soldiers sent to the Indian colonies .

Origin of the gin and tonic

Origin of gin and tonic: Johann Jacob Schweppe. © Wikipedia Commons

In 1873, Johann Jacob Schweppe would give rise in Geneva to the combination of quinine with bubbling water called tonic , but the previous idea had already emerged in India .

The origin of gin and tonic in India

Although the tonic and the gin were initially conceived in Europe, the origin of the gin and tonic was developed in India .

Origin of the gin and tonic

Origin of the gin and tonic: British soldiers in India © Wikipedia Commons

It all started when British soldiers, who could not stand the taste of quinine tablets to treat malaria to which they were exposed in a new tropical environment, began to combine them with water, resulting in a really bitter mixture. In this way, the soldiers chose to combine the pills with gin, lemon and sugar, resulting in the gin and tonic that we all know today after arriving in India in 1857 .

Origin of the gin and tonic

© Pixabay

The origin of the gin and tonic alludes to one of the great curiosities of India  as this is the place where the combination of what is one of the most famous drinks in the world was born.