Wine has been enjoyed by humans for thousands of years. The natural likeness for this drink is not only because it tastes wonderful, but also because of its nutritional value and psychotropic effects.

Wine has also had a significant impact on the economy and the shaping of societies. Out of all the alcoholic beverages, it is the trade of wine that allowed exploration of different cultures and paved the way for philosophical and religious ideas to spread. Wine is cited frequently in the “Bible,” from the time of Noah to Jesus, indicating its integral role. Wine-making was also seen as a sign of a provident economy, as only provident societies could accommodate a well-established wine industry. In fact, it is often debated that the foundations of western society were built on wine.  

The wine enjoyed in the olden days is a distant relative to the wine enjoyed today. Red, pink, green, white, and blue grapes were used by the Egyptians to prepare the drink. Palm dates, figs, and pomegranates were often added to the mix too. So the taste was completely different from what we know. Using different fruit to make wine is similar to how it is preThis availability of wineries enables us to visit the rolling hills of a beautiful vineyard closer to home. Yes, it is very likely one is near you, within range for a fun day trip or weekend getaway. So, pack your bags and set your G.P.S. to the winery closest to you!pared using grapes, except that sugar is also added to aid the fermentation process.  

The exact origin of National Wine Day is unknown, but the earliest references date back to 2009. It is a day for wine enthusiasts to unite and celebrate our favorite fermented fruit juice.

Since its establishment in 1812 by Spanish missionaries, California’s wine country in the northern Bay Area of northern California has dominated American wine production and our personal vision of the elegant American vineyard. There were a mere 25 wineries in this area of California in 1974. Today, there are over 800!

While California still leads U.S. wine production and is now home to over 4,000 wineries state-wide, wineries exist across the U.S. with at least three in every state. In fact, the most frequently visited winery today is the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, with over one million people annually.

cr. >> https://nationaltoday.com/national-wine-day/

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Cinchona and malaria
The bitter flavouring of tonic water comes from an alkaloid called quinine which is extracted from the bark of the Andean fever tree (Cinchona spp.).
The tree’s remarkable curative properties were discovered as a fever remedy in South America in the early 17th century.For 300 years, until it was replaced by synthetic anti-malarials, Cinchona provided the only effective treatment for malaria known to the West.
Although we think of malaria as a tropical disease, it once existed all over Europe, including Britain, as recently as the early 20th century.
Spread by mosquitos, it may have been the most lethal disease in history. Malaria was eradicated in Britain by improvements in general health, access to treatment, and better water management.
Draining of marshes, enclosing sewers and chlorinating water all reduced the mosquito’s ability to breed and spread malaria.

Politics and plantations
In 1854, on an expedition on the Niger, Scottish physician William Balfour Baikie used quinine to successfully prevent malaria, rather than as an after-treatment.Prior to this, death rates of Europeans on west African expeditions were extraordinarily high, often due to a particularly fatal form of malaria, and Baikie’s actions had repercussions across the world. Quinine, and the Cinchona tree, now became a vital tool for the control and expansion of empires. Seeds and plants were taken from South America to plantations in India and Java between 1850 and 1865. With its government sponsorship and horticultural expertise, Kew played a central role in transferring the plants to India and developing cultivation practices.This is represented by Kew’s current holding of cinchona specimens in the Herbarium, illustrations, archives, and manuscripts – the largest collection in the world. They form the basis of Kim’s doctoral research, unpicking the story of a plant transfer that was to have a huge impact on the peoples and landscapes of the tropics.

The Gin and Tonic
But how did we end up with the gin and tonic?
Though quinine was occasionally paired with fizzy water, it was only in 1858 that it was patented under the name ‘Tonic Water’ by Erasmus Bond, owner of Pitt & Co. in Islington.It was marketed as a digestive and general tonic rather than a fever medication, and did not immediately become popular. However, tonic water did better in hotter climes, and by 1863 adverts for quinine tonic waters appeared across British colonies advertised as digestives and as (probably ineffective) fever remedies.It was most often recommended to help European travellers acclimatise to the tropical heat. The first known reference to a tonic water cocktail came in 1863 in Hong Kong, where it was paired with ginger brandy.
Many origin legends for the gin and tonic exist, but we have found these hard to verify in the historical record. Quinine was most often administered as a medicine in alcohol, rather than as part of a cocktail. Quinine could be mixed with wine, gin, or rum, or with locally available spirits such as arrack.
What we do know is that the first known record of the ‘gin and tonic’ comes from the Oriental Sporting Magazine in 1868 where partygoers call for the cocktail and cheroots at the end of a horse race in Lucknow, India.

This is typical of Victorian consumption of the G&T, as a refreshing drink in hot weather. The notion that the G&T was drunk in the tropics as an anti-malarial seems to have arisen as a 20th century legend.
The rich history of tonic water has been carefully unearthed in the archives and described in-depth in our new book Just the Tonic: A natural history of tonic water.

We hope you enjoy discovering more as you read it alongside a sparkling gin and tonic (or even just a tonic!). Cheers!

credits >> https://www.kew.org/

The History of VODKA

Vodka is a clear distilled alcoholic beverage. Different varieties originated in Poland, Russia, and Sweden.Vodka is composed mainly of water and ethanol but sometimes with traces of impurities and flavourings. Traditionally, it is made by distilling liquid from fermented cereal grains, and potatoes since introduced in Europe in the 1700s. Some modern brands use corn, sugar cane, fruits, honey, and maple sap as the base.

Since the 1890s, standard vodkas have been 40% alcohol by volume (ABV) (80 U.S. proof). The European Union has established a minimum alcohol content of 37.5% for vodka. Vodka in the United States must have a minimum alcohol content of 40%.

Vodka is traditionally drunk “neat” (not mixed with water, ice, or other mixers), and it is often served freezer chilled in the vodka belt of Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Ukraine. It is also used in cocktails and mixed drinks, such as the vodka martini, Cosmopolitan, vodka tonic, screwdriver, greyhound, Black or White Russian, Moscow mule, Bloody Mary, and Caesar.


The History of GIN

Gin is a distilled alcoholic drink flavored with juniper berries and other botanical ingredients.

Gin originated as a medicinal liquor made by monks and alchemists across Europe. The modern gin was modified in Flanders and the Netherlands to provide aqua vita from distillates of grapes and grains, becoming an object of commerce in the spirits industry. Gin became popular in England after the introduction of jenever, a Dutch and Belgian liquor. Although this development had been taking place since the early 17th century, gin became widespread after the 1688 Glorious Revolution led by William of Orange and subsequent import restrictions on French brandy. Gin emerged as the national alcoholic drink of England during the so-called Gin Craze of 1695–1735.

Gin is produced from a wide range of herbal ingredients in a number of distinct styles and brands. After juniper, gin tends to be flavoured with herbs, spices, floral or fruit flavours, or often a combination. It is commonly mixed with tonic water in a gin and tonic. Gin is also used as a base spirit to produce flavoured, gin-based liqueurs, for example sloe gin, traditionally produced by the addition of fruit, flavourings and sugar.


The History of RUM

Rum is a liquor made by fermenting and then distilling sugarcane molasses or sugarcane juice. The distillate, a clear liquid, is often aged in barrels of oak. While associated with the Caribbean due to its Barbadian origin, 

rum is nowadays produced in nearly every major sugar-producing region of the world, such as the Philippines, where Tanduay Distillers, the largest producer of rum worldwide, has its headquarters.

Rums are produced in various grades. Light rums are commonly used in cocktails, whereas “golden” and “dark” rums were typically consumed straight or neat, iced (“on the rocks”), or used for cooking, but are now commonly consumed with mixers. Premium rums are made to be consumed either straight or iced.

Rum plays a part in the culture of most islands of the West Indies as well as the Maritime provinces and Newfoundland, in Canada. It has associations with the Royal Navy (where it was mixed with water or beer to make grog) and piracy (where it was consumed as bumbo). Rum has also served as a medium of economic exchange, used to help fund enterprises such as slavery (see Triangular trade), organized crime, and military insurgencies such as the American Revolution and the Australian Rum Rebellion.