The gin and tonic is having a second. From Spain--where gin and tonics are practically the national drink--to our summer time shores, the venerable G-and-T is everywhere. House-made tonic is on the menu in restaurants from coast to coastline, and many fine night clubs gin and tonics come in dozens of kinds, with special tonics and fruit garnishes matched to distinctive artisanal gins.
Yet the gin and tonic is different. For one, it takes no unusual elements, and it is very simple to make. More interestingly, the gin and tonic has a storied history that places it at the heart of the most significant empire the Category of goods has ever known. Indeed, it is not too much of a stretch to say that the gin and tonic was as essential a weapon for the English Empire since the Gatling weapon. No less an specialist on imperial power than Winston Churchill once reported, "The gin and tonic has saved more Englishmen's lives, and minds, than all the doctors in the Empire.
The story starts with the jewel of the British Empire: Of india. British India comprised both more and less than modern-day India. More, in that it included large parts of what are today Pakistan and Bangladesh. Less, in that much of India under the British Raj was quasi-independent, in so-called princely states that were nominally full sovereign coin but largely under England's thumb. India was so important to the empire that in 1876 Queen Éxito added the moniker "Empress of India" to the woman title. Her successors carried on that practice right up till 1948, under George VI (he of Typically the King's Speech fame).
Managing India, in short, was central to the British Empire also to Britain's sense of itself as the tour's leading power. What allowed Britain, a tiny island far off in the upper reaches of Europe, to rule within the vast semi-continent of India for so long is a topic of some debate. However in Jared Diamond's famous words, Europe's military superiority was built on a mix of "guns, germs, and metal. inches
Guns and metal plainly favored powers like Britain. These innovations granted Britain (and other Western countries) to deploy weaponry such as machine weapons at a time when many communities round the world still used swords and spears. Nevertheless germs were more equivocal. Malaria in particular was a virulent killer of colonized and colonizer alike. While malaria has a long history in Europe, it started to be eradicated in the nineteenth century, and even before it was never as deadly as it was in tropical locations. Thus as Europeans established groupe in the tropics, they faced a serious and sometimes mortal threat from the mosquito-borne disease. Soldiers and civilian officials alike succumbed to it.