Gin & Tonic Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
“… I decided I was a lemon for a couple of weeks. I kept myself amused all that time jumping in and out of a gin and tonic … "
~ Ford Prefect in Life, The Universe and Everything, by Douglas Adams, 1982
Scottish gin has been undergoing a revival with many new craft distilleries producing gin flavoured with both the six traditional botanicals ((juniper, coriander, lemon peel, orange peel, angelica root, cassia bark) plus native and particularly Scottish botanicals including bramble, bog myrtle, rowan berry, heather, dandelion, coul blush apple, and others!
October 19th is Gin and Tonic Day!
This favourite cocktail has the unique quality that its taste is quite different from the taste of its constituent liquids which are rather bitter. The chemical structures of both ingredients are of a similar molecular shape and attract each other, shielding the bitter taste.
The origins of the cocktail can be traced to an association with a Scotsman who is honored with this dance.
While Edinburgh-born George Cleghorn (1716-1794) didn’t invent the gin and tonic, the 18th-century doctor helped drive its popularity when it was discovered that quinine (isolated in 1820 from the bark of the cinchona tree) could cure or suppress malaria.
The son of a farmer, Cleghorn studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh where he was one of a group of students who later established the Royal Medical Society. While working as an army surgeon in Minorca he discovered that quinine bark acted as a remedy for malaria. Quinine was generally drunk in tonic water but because it was so bitter, gin was added to make it more palatable.
British officers in India in the early 19th century began taking their quinine in a concoction of water, sugar, lime and gin in order to make the drink more palatable. Since soldiers were already given a gin ration, the sweetened concoction made sense.
For a list of creative gin and tonic cocktails, such as Cranberry Thyme Gin and Tonic and Strawberry Pepper Gin and Tonic, click the classic mix.