Just the tonic: A natural history of tonic water

Kim Walker, Mark Nesbitt

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Just the Tonic is an accessible yet informative history of tonic water: its connections to the major disease malaria, the cure discovered in the bitter bark of the cinchona tree and its constituent alkaloid quinine. It is a history deeply intertwined with botanical exploration and empire in the Victorian era, and the role of botanical gardens such as Kew. The reader will discover the colourful history of the discovery and uses of the Andean tree Cinchona, as well as the role of bitters for medicines and cocktails, the history of hydrotherapy and the invention of sparkling water. The authors reveal the changing role of the G&T: the rise and fall, and rise again, of cocktails during the 19th century, the art deco cocktail bars of the 1920s, through to the Mad Men era and the recent resurgence of the gin and tonic as a drink of choice. Written by leading experts from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, home to one of the largest collections in the world of historic cinchona. This is the first authoritative book on the history and role of tonic water and will make a unique addition to the popular drinks book market and an ideal gift.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherKew Publishing
Number of pages140
ISBN (Print)978-1842466896
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2019


  • Tonic water
  • Quinine
  • Cinchona
  • Gin and tonic

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