If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it eleventy billion times – Gawker rocks! Gizmodo’s my favorite asset of theirs. Why? Cuz they love technology but love booze even more (or so they’re frequent off-course forays into boozedom would seem to indicate). Anyway, this time, they tackle the anti Vodka & Soda: the venerable Gin and Tonic. Say what? Everybody hates gin! Not quite Kemosabe. Personally, my favorite cocktail is a rather simple one. I adore me a well-chilled, 1/3 Vermouth (yes people) Gibson, adorned with three over-sized, house-cured Pearl Onions. Slap that puppy in an over-sized, purty crystal cocktail glass, and you can easily convince me to help you move couches all day long. Long before Ketel and Goose with Soda ruled the skinny bitch’s roost, G&T’s were the cat’s meow at every watering hole in existence. They’re still fairly popular today but admittedly live deep in the shadows of – sheesh – that above mentioned simpleton drink.
Anyway, any good bartender (and hopefully, most serious imbibers) worth his/her salt knows full well that Tonic Water is Soda Water infused with Quinine, right? That stuff that British soldiers often ingested, in the Flemish-Cambodian/Franco-Indian war (or something) that gave then boners for 3 straight days – before Viagra, of course. Well, not exactly. Quinine was once just Quinine at one point as were the (forgive me) “tonics” it eventually found it’s way in to. But like much of today’s pile of mass-produced, big-industry, commercial crap, what Schweppes and Canada Dry (the two biggest industrial marketers of modern-day Tonic Water) shove down almost every bar’s gullet isn’t exactly what you think it is.
Tonic is so bad, in fact—and so predominantly used with gin—that it convinces some people that the taste they don’t like is gin. And can you blame them? The vast majority store-bought tonics are like soda pop with a little bitterness to them. There’s no nuance to them. They’re bad, and when they’re not bad, they’re boring.
And you thought you simply hated gin, aye?
Bust out your best GoogleFu to look up the history of Tonic and it’s Maleria-fighting super-skillz or just head over to Gizmodo as – like usual – the break it down for you in the most epically communicative way:
The tonic of the 1600s (quinine, sugar, and water) bore very little resemblance to what we now know as tonic water. For starters, it used real quinine, which was taken from the bark of the cinchona tree (also known as the “fever tree” because it helped allay said symptoms). It also used real sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. And, perhaps most importantly, it wasn’t bubbly and carbonated. Carbonation hadn’t even been invented at the time.
Those fine folks at Gizmodo rightfully suggest investing (at that’s really what it is) in premium (read: made with real ingredients) Tonic Water such as Fever-Tree, Fentimens, and Q-Dry. Stepping it up a notch, they also suggest crafting your own or sticking to Tonic Liqueurs (essentially, Quinine concentrates) like Bittermans. Like most other cocktails, a G&T is more than the sum of it’s parts. Quality in = an extremely memorable experience and taste sensation and repeat business.
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