Geek Trivia

Which Alcoholic Drink Was Originally Used To Treat Malaria?

Rusty Nails
Tom Collins
Gin and Tonics
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Answer: Gin and Tonic

The first known treatment (and preventative) for malaria was quinine–a bitter substance derived from the bark of the cinchona tree. When British troops stationed in India balked at drinking a bitter dose of water laced with quinine, the British East India Company created a cocktail to help the medicine go down.

This cocktail, a mixture of water, sugar, lime juice, and gin, became the beloved modern cocktail, the Gin and Tonic. If you’re trying to fight off malaria with a trip to the bar, however, we’d suggest a stop by the pharmacist’s first. Modern tonic water contains radically less quinine than its historical counterpart.