Gin and tonic lovers can relax and raise a glass as the EU has ruled that the mixer can continue to be called tonic, despite having no health benefits.
Tonic was created by British Imperialists in India as a way of taking quinine, which is known for its anti-malarial properties. Originally, bark from the cinchona tree, which contains quinine, was soaked in gin or brandy in order for the drinker to ingest around 1-2g of quinine a day. Once quinine tablets were developed, they would often be dropped into gin with lemon and lime as a palatable way of ingesting the medicinal properties.
Unfortunately, modern tonic only contains around 15mg quinine per litre, so it doesn't do quite the same job. While the term tonic has been used since the mid-1800s to describe quinine flavoured non-alcoholic beverages, the word was also used for medicinal purposes, describing a substance that was taken to boost health and well-being.
As tonic sales have boomed in recent years thanks to the gin revolution, British tonic producers were worried that if the commission had ruled in favour of changing the term, they would be massively out of pocket; If Brexit goes through, British producers will still have to comply with EU regulations in order to sell to the other 27 member states, meaning that tonic bottles would have to be relabelled at great expense to the producers. Luckily, the result was overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the name as is.
"I'm somewhat perplexed by this bizarre ruling in Brussels over the definition of the word tonic and how it affects tonic water producers such as ourselves. I've never known our customers to get the more medical term "tonic" confused with tonic water. Also, I personally never felt that tonic water mixed with gin should ever carry any physical health benefits, although many might not agree with me! It does, however, quench the thirst ridiculously well and puts one in a rather relaxed mood. Looking at the amount of crazy time such a silly case went through the courts, makes me regret my mother's advice when I was a teenager. I should have really gone and studied law, what a field day for the lawyers and courts!"
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