Gin & Tonics and Imperialism

By Will Smith

The secret of the gin and tonic isn't it's delicious taste, it's quinine.

I love learning about the history of different cocktails, which is why I enjoyed this Slate piece about the gin and tonic. The popularity of the drink isn't due to the delicate blends of herbs and spices used to make the gin, but in a key component of the tonic, quinine. Quinine is a naturally occurring compound that prevents and treats malaria, which was a constant threat for locals and British natives alike when they were stationed in tropical colonies.