Because I’m a man that enjoys a good G&T, I occasionally find myself buying bottles of tonic water. The chances of me ever pouring myself a glass of simply tonic water are only slightly higher than the chances of me ever pouring myself a glass of creamed yak milk. I’d never drink the T without the G.
Every single bottle and brand of tonic water in the carbonated beverage aisle at the grocery store has a surreptitiously disconcerting label noting that the product “contains quinine”.
Now. What the hell does that mean? If quinine was listed as an ingredient, its inclusion in my preferred early evening libation would never spend a microsecond of time flitting about my already addled enough brain. But as it is — practically screaming itself as a dire warning — it makes me nervous. A six-pack of Guinness has no note indicating that each bottle “contains hops”.
So what the hell is quinine and why must I be alerted to its presence? A quick trip to Google tells me that it’s an anti-inflammatory drug, sometimes used (but not recommended on its own) to treat malaria. Why this would be a key ingredient in tonic water is beyond me.
I’m not too — too — worried about catching malaria here in Los Angeles. And it’s — you have got to admit — a little bit strange to learn that the majority of my alcoholic drinks for the last few years are also helping to stave off inflammation. But. There you have it. Almost every gin and tonic you’ve ever had contains quinine. And now you know … the rest of the story.
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