It is said that gin, the most important ingredient for Gin & Tonic, was invented around 1650 in the Netherlands by Dr Sylvuis (a.k.a. Franz de la Boé), a Professor of Medicine at Leyden, Holland. He originally intended this ‘medicine’ as a remedy for kidney disorders, using neutral grain spirits flavoured with the oil of juniper. He called it ‘genever’ after the French term genièvre (= juniper). By 1655 it was already being produced commercially and English soldiers serving in the area were fond of it.

During the English reign of William and Mary, around 1689, home production of gin was encouraged and it’s said that it was due to the fact that drinking gin was safer than drinking water! Apart from that, the production and distribution of gin was rather cheap – it was cheaper than beer. In 1720s, the “gin madness” spread through London, as an escape from the brutal life of the working class and with time, it became synonymous with the poor and abuse of the drink was rampant. Back then, the expression ‘mother’s ruin’ emerged, due to the enormous popularity of gin among women. In the 19th century, gin became drier, more refined and a respectable drink in high society, though.

Gin & Tonic

Gin & Tonic were also developed as a medicine, in order to help fight malaria. Quinine, an ingredient in tonic water, was useful for getting rid of the disease; but not everybody liked it or drank it easily. Therefore, gin was added to it, which made drinking tonic water much more pleasant. Well, mind you that since tonic water is no longer used to fight malaria, nowadays it contains much less quinine and it’s usually sweetened – hence, much less bitter. The lime served in Gin & Tonic contains vitamin C, which helped to prevent scurvy. Combining those 3 ingredients made it all more palatable.

But that belongs to the past! We now drink it for pleasure! In order to make your G&T, you’ll need:


  • 1 part gin
  • 2 parts tonic water
  • lime
  • ice cubes


Fill a tall glass with the ice cubes, pour the gin and top it up with tonic water. Squeeze the juice from a wedge of fresh lime and add the lime as a garnish. You may now sip your refreshing cocktail.