Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A nice G 'n' T

I discovered my favourite drink rather late in life, oddly enough on a whim. I ordered a Gin and Tonic at a wedding, the first wedding I'd ever been to where I was eighteen and could actually order drinks. It sounded like something a pretentious adult would order at a bar, and since I was kind of pretentious and pretending to be grown up, I ordered it. It was served in a little plastic cup with a little wedge of lime in it, and I was hooked after my first sip. My Peach doesn't like gin or tonic water, as she finds them too bitter.

This weekend she had mentioned her dislike of tonic water again, after bemoaning our lack of soda water, something she drinks quite a lot mixed with a little juice. So I looked it up on the internet, and I came up with a few interesting things that I wanted to share. First of all, tonic water was initially created by the British East India Company; it was just soda water mixed with quite a bit of quinine, which was very good at preventing malaria. Since malaria isn't usually an issue we don't need nearly that much quinine any more, but there's still a little in there for flavour - and since quinine fluoresces under ultraviolet light, your cocktail will glow if you're at a particularly good party with black lights.

Anyhow. Initially, the British soldiers found tonic water far too bitter, so they added gin to it to make it more palatable, a strategy I think more people should use in their daily life. Are you dealing with something that's particularly hard to swallow? Just add alcohol and you're saved!

And finally, if you find tonic water a little too bitter but that's all you have in the house, you can apparently cut the taste by adding a pinch of salt, which should mask the bitterness. I haven't tried it myself, of course, but I'm thinking it's something I might spring on The Peach when she asks for a cocktail. I mean, what's the worst that could happen? She'd dislike tonic water even MORE?

(Personally, I recommend you make your G'n'T with an ounce of good gin, about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of tonic water, ice, and a wedge of lime. Good any time, but especially good to cut the heat of a summer day, whether you're in India or not.)


Shannon said...

Gin and Tonics are also my favorite cocktail. What an interesting story about the history of tonic water. Gracias!

Gina Damberger said...

According to my husband, in Africa, they still use the old-school extra quinine type for anti-malarial reasons.

Ryan Ro said...

Mmmmmm gin.

I love Bombay. I can NOT drink Tanqueray.

My wife dislikes most alcohol. I find it very amusing that she likes gin of all things. That and Bailey's are IT. Gin is kind of old school. Mixes wonderfully with fruit juice though Tom Collins and Singapore slings and Bombay & Tonic!

Anonymous said...

My roommate likes to make his gin and tonics with Angostura bitters, making them even bitter-er! They're pretty good with some ice and a wedge of lime, actually.

The Doc said...

Shannon, de nada! I had a Vodka & Tonic the other night; it was GREATLY inferior.

Gina, I didn't know that, but it doesn't surprise me. I bet it tastes awful.

Ro, I definitely prefer Bombay, but Tanqueray's okay. Inferior but not un-drinkable. And my Peach can't handle gin; creamy or fruity alcohols are her limit. And soju, oddly enough.

Dan, bitter is better!