What Is in Tonic Water?


Quick Answer

Tonic water contains carbonated water, quinine and sweeteners. It is a bitter drink originally intended to fend off malaria. It was frequently mixed with liquor to improve the taste. Modern tonic water has sweeteners added and less quinine, but it is still a somewhat bitter drink.

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Full Answer

Tonic water was initially consumed in South Asia and Africa, where malaria was very common. It was first commercially produced in 1858. The British colonizing India were the first to mix the drink with gin and vodka to improve the taste. Tonic water has only recently reached the United States, with at least four syrups being released between 2010 and 2014. The syrups allow consumers to make their tonic water as strong or as mild as they desire.

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