How did tonic water become a drink mixer and a pleasurable beverage in its own right? And, how does practical experimentation have the potential to aid research into its history?

In my childhood, I always opted for plain tonic water over sweet, bubbly drinks. Now, the gin and tonic is one of my favorite cocktails. I write this as I sip a blush pink tonic water on its own, a small glass bottle announcing its herbaceous infusion. As a consumer, I’ve long found refreshment and delight in tonic water’s astringent bite. As a scholar who has worked on the history and culture of plant-based stimulants, I also suspected there was more to learn about the story of tonic water and how it secured its spot in the marketplace.

In this interview for What to Read Now, I speak with the authors of Just the Tonic: A Natural History of Tonic...

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