Any Wisconsite will share their distain of mosquito season. But, did you ever wonder how the Gin and Tonic became a popular summer drink, and why mosquitos have anything to do with this refreshing drink?
History of Tonic Water
Well, Tonic water was once sold as a prophylactic to prevent and cure malaria because of itâ€™s quinine content! Our Brit ancestors decided Gin made the bitter quinine more palatable while they were hanging out in Colonial India, conquering Africa and all that jazz. Since Malaria was a disease of epidemic proportions at the time and gin made conquering the world more pleasantâ€¦well what would any self respecting Englishman do but mix the two?
Of course, our Midwestern mosquitos donâ€™t carry malaria, but some studies have shown that mosquitos donâ€™t like the taste of quinine. But before you think youâ€™ve eliminated the need for bug sprayâ€¦you should know tonic water has changed since the 1800â€™s.
Modern Tonic Water
Modern Tonic water contains less quinine than it did in colonial days, making it less bitter. Many brands are also sweetened with corn syrup or sugar. (Mosquitos like sweet, and there isnâ€™t enough quinine to cause aversion to your skin).
Artisanal Tonic Water
Today a new crop of tonic water has appeared for the creative mixologist to whip up unique blends of vodka or gin and tonics with completely new flavor profiles. By combining unusual gins or vodkas with these new Tonics- who knows what amazing drinks you can delight your friends and family with! Here are a few top brands:
Q Tonic-Brooklyn, NY: Made withÂ handpicked Peruvian quinine and sweetened with Mexican Agave, itâ€™s dryer and more bitter than traditional tonic waters. It pairs great with citric gins like Bombay Sapphire and smooth, clean gins like Junipero. About $2.50 6.3 oz. bottle.
Fever Tree, United Kingdom: Made with spring water, cane sugar, Rwandan quinine and cold pressed orange oil from Tanzania, itâ€™ so delicious itâ€™s actually drinkable on itâ€™s own.Â Mix with Plymouth gin for a bold, fruity gin and tonic, or whip up a delicious Vodka Tonic with Grey Goose with a twist of lime. Sold in 4 packs for $5.69
Stirrings: Triple-filtered water, Chinchona bark extract, cane sugar make this champagne style tonic water slightly sweet with a grapefruity finish.Â Mix with a light, dry gin for the perfect cocktail: one to try Hendricks. Â Sold in 4 packs for $5.00
Tomrâ€™s Tonic Syrup Concentrate: this elixir lets you create your own tonic by mixing the syrup with club soda. Made with the bark of bark of the cinchona tree from which quinine originates, the syrup allows you to control the â€śbitternessâ€ť of your personal tonic water mix. Bonus: no corn syrup! 1 oz per serving. 6.76 oz $13.49
How ’bout Campari + Tonic or Tequila + Tonic?Â
1 Â oz Campari
1 oz Gin
Â˝ oz Lemon Juice
Build over ice in a cocktail glass.
Â Corazon Invisible Hombre
1 Â˝ parts Corazon Tequila Blanco
2 Â˝ parts Tonic Water (try Q Tonic with agave)
Splash Lime Juice
Mix in a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a lime twist.
5 parts Tequila Reposada
5 parts Tonic Water (try Q Tonic with agave)
6 pieces Lime, cut in cubes
3 T Brown Sugar
6 Basil Leaves
Put lime cubes and two tablespoons brown sugar in tall tumbler. Crush lime and sugar well. Add basil leaves and press lightly so they donâ€™t become bitter. Add rest of brown sugar and fill glass to rim with broken ice. Add Tequila and tonic water. Stir to bring up basil and lime from bottom. Garnish with sprig of basil and lime wedge.