“In the summertime, when the weather is fine”…. we are constantly being encouraged or rather oppressed to get a beach body or otherwise our summer would be irreversibly spoiled or not happen at all. Summer is most definitely the season of overachievers. Who has the longest holiday?! Who spent it in the most exotic and luxurious place?! Who has the most toned gluts and abs by the pool?! That is a hell of a time for being average. On the plus side we will always have ice cream, and margaritas, daiquiris and gin and tonics to wash down our disillusionment with the magazine covers’ propaganda, trying to sell us our perfect summer.
Toned abdominal or gin-tonics?! Life hits you with choices. And while waiting the barista to mix the drinks, let us go down the memory lane and pay tribute to the bitter drink that has helped some of us survive in times of heat, anxieties and even malaria. Yes, malaria. The tonic water got invented by the Imperial British troops in their struggles to stave off malaria when trooping the tropics in the past. Actually, the main ingredient in the tonic water is the bitter flavoured quinine – one of the first modern medicines to combat malaria and Europeans have used it ever since 1630. Then in the 19th century it was discovered that the medicine goes down really well with soda water and sugar and later gin was added to the tonic water to come to the classic summer cocktail.
The word tonic is of Greek origin, deriving from tonikos ‘of stretching’, especially in terms of muscular activity. For the first time in English, tonic was used by John Bulwer in his Pathomyotomia in 1649: “Action without motion of the Muscle, is called a Tonique motion”.
Then, about a century later, the meaning of tone and tonic faded into the more common “maintaining the normal healthy condition of tissues or organs”.
And the tonic water sparkled out in print in only 1953, in a collection of Best One-act Plays, accompanied by gin: “Waiter! That will be two whiskies, and a gin and tonic.”
Don´t drink and drive.