It’s hard to imagine but the quintessentially British drink of gin and tonic actually started its life in the 16th century as a medicine for kidney problems - thank you Dr. Franciscus Sylvus. Despite its beginnings though the drink’s past wasn’t always so worthy. Gin became notorious as the drink of the poor bringing madness and starvation to the streets of England in the 18th century as depicted by William Hogarth in the print Gin Lane. Thanks to the Tippling Act in 1751 small gin shops were eliminated and the distribution of gin passed to large distillers and retailers which improved not only the quality of the drink but also raised its profile and gradually gin became known as a gentleman’s drink.
The successful marriage of gin to tonic is thanks to the British colonisation in the Indian subcontinent. Malaria was a huge problem and adding quinine to tonic water for prevention may have helped but the taste was vile so the addition of gin helped mask the flavor - the rest is history.
Making the perfect gin and tonic is, and probably always will be, a subject guaranteed to create debate and argument amongst the British. Which Gin - lemon or lime - proportion of gin to tonic - to stir or not to stir? Everyone has an opinion.
My husband is the G & T mixer in this house and this is his preferred combination.
His favorite recipe – He likes lime and to stir!
Fill a high-ball glass with ice, add 1 part gin (50 ml) (Bombay Sapphire he likes best) to three parts tonic water (Fevertree if possible) (150 ml), 1 slice lime and mix well.
Colleen Graham, About.com’s Guide to Cocktails recipe