The origin of tonic water is a fantastic tale; the drink was created out of necessity rather than curiosity; as it is with a lot of inventions.
Tonic water was first made by British soldiers. In the 19th century, British Soldiers sought a way to consume the extremely bitter malaria antidote, quinine. They mixed quinine with water and soda to make it taste better. It, however, was still too better to consume, and they found a solution to this by adding gin. Going by this, the British army invented the tonic water.
In following years, 1858 in particular Erasmus Bond carried out the first commercial production of tonic water. In 1878, 20 years after that, Jacob Schweppe began production of Schweppes Indian Tonic.
Quinine is a well-known medication used to treat malaria. It is, however, no longer recommended as a result of its numerous side effects. Quinine was gotten for the first time from the bark of a Peruvian Cinchona tree around 1630. The Cinchona tree is native to South and Central America, and can also be found in West Africa and the Caribbeans. Back then, it was used to treat fever before its potency for malaria was discovered.
Quinine played a massive role during the second world war, as it was used in treating many soldiers. The last American plane which was taken over by the Japanese after flying out of Philippines was said to have carried about four million quinine seeds.
An interesting take on the importance of quinine to soldiers can be taken from Sir Winston Churchill's statement:
''Gin and tonic have saved more Englishmen's lives and minds than all the doctors in the empire''.