Tonic water, with or without the gin, tastes a little bitter, and the reason for this is its naturally-occurring quinine.
Originally used as a malaria cure beginning centuries ago, it is the very reason this drink is still called a “tonic”.
Tonic water today has a much lower quinine content and is typically sweetened.
And yet, the lingering medicinal properties of this tart mixer mean it’s also not suitable for everyone.
Pregnant women, people with tinnitus, muscle weakness, cardiac arrhythmia or a damaged optic nerve should avoid drinking lots of this particular soft drink, as quinine can cause health problems.
Due to this potentially harmful chemical compound that comes from the cinchona tree, people who fit into these categories should avoid drinks like tonic water or bitter lemon altogether, says Michelle Veith, a consumer health advocate based in Germany.
People taking certain medications, such as anticoagulants, should expect adverse interactions.
In some countries, pubs and restaurants are legally obliged to label mixers with quinine on their drinks list.
However, that does not apply to spirits and alcoholic mixers as it is not always clear that they contain this substance. – dpa