International Gin and Tonic Day
The roots of the gin and tonic go all the way back to the 1700s when malaria was increasingly becoming a problem. The Scottish Doctor, George Cleghorn discovered that the quinine in tonic water was helpful in curing the disease but very few people liked the bitter, acidic taste of the drink. British officers in India began flavouring the tonic water so that it was more tolerable. This included adding lime juice, sugar, still water and, most famously, gin. Gin is made from distilled juniper berries and was originally sold as a medicinal beverage in Holland at the end of the 17th Century. At the time, it was thought to cure ailments such as stomach aches, headaches and arthritis and it quickly became a popular drink globally. International Gin and Tonic day was established in 2011 to celebrate the history of this beloved cocktail as well as in honour of Mary Edith Keyburn who died at 95 with a teacup full of gin and tonic on her bedside! Her family, well aware of her affection for the drink, smuggled a cocktail into the hospital! The first cocktail included in the world’s first-ever cocktail recipe book was gin based and by 1726, there were over 1,500 working stills in the UK! In the early 20th Century, British Naval Officers were given a daily ration of gin and tonic a day!
Learn more about one of the nation’s favourite tipples with our activities!