Tonic Warning

Gin&tonicA friend recently asked me what tonic I used in my gin and tonic, which he really enjoyed (and he’s not at all a gin fan). I told him it was Fever-Tree, which was introduced to me by my colleague Andrew Ferguson. This led me to peruse once again David Embury’s cocktail bible, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (1948).

“Remember that [gin and tonic] is not merely a thirst quencher,” Embury writes. “It does contain real quinine, and too much quinine, while not intoxicating in the ordinary sense, nevertheless can produce a head that feels like a fully inflated balloon. Take due notice and govern yourself accordingly.”

Why do I hear the old voice of Q saying, “And take due notice, 007, and govern yourself accordingly”? I was also reminded of something my late friend Arnold Beichman, a Sovietologist among other things, told me—that the KGB use to give prisoners quinine during interrogations and that the headaches were unbearable.

On the other hand, you’ll have the upper hand in the fight against malaria.

Photo by cyclonebill

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