Gin and Tonic – The Original Anti-Malarial Cocktail


So, kiddies. Let’s take a little walk down cocktail history lane.

Why was the Gin and Tonic invented? Well, it had a lot to do with Britain, the India Company, and merchant expansion.

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From the BBC:

When the British were in the East they became susceptible to malaria and eventually found out that quinine, an ingredient in tonic water, was useful for getting rid of the disease. Well, as you would probably expect, drinking tonic water by itself is pretty nasty (unless you’ve acquired a taste for it) and they had problems getting the British in the East to drink it.

Along comes our friend gin to be mixed with the tonic water, which not only made drinking it much more pleasant, but also created an excellent drink that would be remembered from then on, even if its relationship to the disease was forgotten. So, as you can see, gin and tonic water came about due to medicinal reasons, then caught on later for its more pleasurable aspects.

On a minor note, the lime – served in any good gin and tonic – being a citrus fruit, and therefore containing vitamin C, helps to prevent scurvy. Usually the limes are not the dominant ingredient of gin and tonic, so they won’t actually get rid of scurvy if you’ve already got it – unless you drink a lot of gin and tonics of course.

The East India Company’s 17th Century logo

It was with that in mind that I set forth to make my wife’s Christmas present this year. You see, a few years ago there was an image that was going around the interblags called Two Roads to Courage. It featured a classic suitcase with a bottle of Bulleit Rye and brass knuckles, pleasantly inlaid into dark wood.

I’ve known for some time I wanted to do something similar, so the history of the Gin and Tonic (my wife’s favorite drink) served as inspiration.

I decided to create a Malaria Emergency First Aid Kit.

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Some photos of the assembling of Jenn’s Christmas present.

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