What can be more classic than a Gin and Tonic? But do you know the history of Gin and Tonic? How does this combination become so popular all around the world? Was it an accidental invention, or something done on purpose? Well, you’ll find answers to all these questions right here!
The Birth of Gin and Tonic
In the early nineteenth century, malaria was a huge cause for concern for British troops serving in colonial India. Tonic water, a carbonated drink with malaria-fighting quinine extract, had to be made drinkable as it was essential in Indian conditions at the time. In a bid to disguise its bitter taste, an officer in the British Indian Army came up with a concoction.
He added gin to the tonic water, sweetened it with sugar, and served it with a wedge of lime. This soon became a hit with the soldiers and a perfect Gin and Tonic recipe was born. Gin and Tonic soon acquired a sophisticated persona and today, it is a popular choice for everyone around the world. Quinine levels however have been reduced to less than one-tenth of a gram per liter.
History of Gin and Tonic: The Gin Revolution
While speaking of the gin and tonic history, one cannot miss out on the Gin Revolution.
The Gin Revolution took place in the 1990s and it renewed interest in Gin and Tonic consumption. Brands like Bombay Sapphire and Hendrick’s were the first to take advantage of the changing tide. Taste preferences shifted from sweet vodkas to old school gin cocktails. Ramos Fizz, Negroni, Gimlet, and Sling cocktails but a few were the order of the day.
Other cocktails that quickly caught up were Cameos in The Great Gatsby, Mad Men, Downton Abbey and Peaky Blinders. Pop culture had a role to play in this promotion when in 2006, Daniel Craig as James Bond ordered a Vesper; which is basically 3 parts gin and 1 part vodka.
History of Gin and Tonic: The Trend Setters in India
Though the gin and tonic history maybe quite old, but India is pacing up and currently is the 5th largest gin consumer in the world and although many gin names pay homage to the country; like Bombay Sapphire, the Star of Bombay, Jodhpur, “Old Raj” (an exclusive product of the East India Company), etc all are produced in countries outside India. Post the gin revolution, India witnessed its own craft gin movement with the introduction of gins like Greater than, Hapusa, Stranger and Sons etc.
By 2015, only mainstream commercial brands of craft gins were available in India. But this changed when two young entrepreneurs Anand Virmani and Vaibhav Singh, owners of Delhi’s Perch coffee-and-wine bars, noticed a gap in India for well-crafted gins.
The Gin and Tonic Wave in India
This is a good time for craft gin makers and premium gin importers because they can take advantage of the rise in popularity and the opportunities to create new flavors. The demand for Gin and Tonic is growing in India. Bars all over India are going crazy over Indian Gin brands like Stranger & Sons, Jaisalmer, Reinventing the Tripple, and many others.
Indian Tonic Mixers
Tonic water has had its share of innovations as well. Initially fresh jasmine tea and elderflower and Grapefruit were the only tonic waters available, enter now brands like Svami, Bengal Bay, Jade Forest, and Sepoy & co.
The future looks very clear and sparkly for Gin and Tonic in India at this stage with a growing number of gin converts willing to experiment with new varieties.
Stay tuned to the Cocktail Story to find out more about the facts, recipes, and history of gin and tonic.