Hazardous Botany

The Hazards of Botany

You can thank the English soldiers of the East India Company for the creation of the Gin & Tonic. While in India, quinine was mandatory for the prevention of malaria, however it was far too bitter for an intelligent officer to suffer on a daily basis. Gin was already a daily ration, so a mixture of water, sugar, lime and gin was added to the quinine to turn a tedious medical necessity into a pleasant social custom. Quinine comes from the bark of the Cinchona genus, which is native to South America. Consider now that a man gave his life to find the best source of quinine.

Sometime around 1600, Jesuit priests learned from South American Indians of the anti-malarial properties of the plant and began informing the world about "Jesuit's Bark". The bark became such a lucrative export that by the early 1800's the Peruvian government outlawed the export of its seeds. In 1865, a native of Ecuador named Manuel Incra Mamani was hired to identify and (illegally) send seeds to the Englishman Charles Ledger. Mamani did in fact identify the species containing the highest amount of quinine and was able to ship the seeds back to England. Unfortunately as he continued his work, Mamani was arrested in Coroico, Bolivia where he was beaten and starved. On release from prison he was robbed of everything and soon died thereafter.

The seeds made it to England where they were sold for the equivalent of $20 to the Dutch who sent them to Indonesia for planting. When tested, it was confirmed that they were indeed the finest source of quinine at the time. Today, they are cultivated in several places around the equator.
 - References: The Drunken Botanist, Unusual Historicals, Handbook of Cinchona Culture

Here are some good (and legal!) sources of Tonic for your gin:
Q-Tonic, Fever Tree, Jack Rudy Cocktail

Mamani Gin & Tonic

Saluting Manuel Incra Mamani, botanical smuggler. This refreshing drink is definitely a summer pleasure. (From The Drunken Botanist) Muddle the following in a cocktail shaker:
  • 1 1/2 oz Djinn Gin
  • 2 slices fresh jalapeno, seeded
  • 1 sprig cilantro
  • 1 chunk cucumber
To a highball glass add:
  • Ice
  • Muddled mixture
  • 1 sprig cilantro
  • 2-3 slices cucumber
  • 2 slices fresh jalapeno, seeded
  • Top with good Tonic (suggestions above)
  • Garnish with cherry tomatoes if desired


Distillery News

We have a couple of new releases coming out soon!

Djinn's 2nd Gin - We're making one for the purists out there. This one will be a classic London Dry style, but with a big Djinn flavor.

Dry Peach Liqueur - If you were reading our posts last September, you may remember the adventure we had processing 1,100 pounds of peaches. Well, after 8 months on the barrel, its becoming peach heaven!

Whiskey-102 - These popular classes on whiskey history, laws, and manufacturing are offered monthly. Come get to know what you're drinking!
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