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Food and Beverage

History and Creation of Vintage Drinks Like that 'Gin and Tonic!'

It’s no secret that people are crazy about anything that has to do with vintage these days, and now, when you’ve been out having a wonderful day out enjoying the outdoors with your RV, you get back to camp, you’re ready to sit back and relax, you can also enjoy a vintage beverage. This new product is a quinine tonic concentrate, and it has historical roots dating back to the 17th century. And here to tell us all about this new Ruby D. Tonic is the man who makes it, David Donald.

David: It’s pretty old. It goes back to the early 17th century, around 1630 when it was discovered in Peru. Most people know it as quinine from the cinchona tree. Jeff: Okay, quinine which is a major ingredient for helping to fight malaria, correct? David: Yeah, and so the British really used this when they went to especially in India. They had their soldiers taking a daily dose of quinine, and they would get it in a quinine powder, mix it up with water, and have to drink it. Quinine is terribly bitter, and so they soon discovered that, well, let’s add some sugar to the water, and then the officers said well, we have our daily gin also, daily ration of gin, and so let’s add some gin to this, and hence the gin and tonic was born, thanks to the British military.

David: Well, as you know, we have four different flavors, and so some of these go into each one. We have the juniper berries, we have the lemon bark or zest, we have lemongrass, we have orange zest, allspice, and the main things are the cinchona and the citric acid. And the cinchona bark is where you get the quinine from. We have the spiced, which is very similar to the original, but it has a much higher quantity of the herbs and spices in it.

David: And the extra bitter is probably as close to what you would have had 150 years ago, because there’s very little, other than the cinchona, a little bit of sweetener and citric acid, there’s very few spices in it.

Jeff: Well, there you have it. At the end of the day, you’re ready to relax, now you have something new and vintage to try out with your gin and tonics. And it’s been fun looking at the ingredients and learning about the history, but now, because we’re getting a bit thirsty, we’re gonna toss it over to Evanne Schmarder, and Evanne is going to try out a couple of different recipes with this and see what she can come up with.

Evanne Schmarder: Hey, Jeffrey J., thanks. Vintage-style craft tonic, how cool is that? When one’s presented with such a delightful mixer like this Ruby D. Tonic, what else is there to do but make some killer cool and refreshing beverages? So, take in a coffee drink that’s becoming all the rage. In fact, it’s been called the new iced coffee, but really, I call it a coffee tonic. Stay with me now, it’s really delicious. Let’s give it a go. First thing is, we’re gonna put ice in our glass, four beautiful cubes, maybe more, just fill the glass up just like that. Next, we’re gonna take our original Ruby D. Tonic, and we’re gonna put a full shot just like so, right in the bottom of the glass. Next up, we’re gonna add some seltzer water. About a third of the way. I’m gonna stir this up just so the tonic and the seltzer gets nice and mixed, and a little bit chilled with the ice, and now comes the pièce de résistance. I have a shot of espresso here, I’m gonna pour this right on top of our seltzer tonic mix. I’ve got as pretty little garnish to put in it, a little piece of chocolate and a raspberry, just to make it nice looking. And there you have it, our coffee tonic. Let’s give it a try.

Well, with two terrific tonic drinks, I think it’s time to relax outdoors and take in this beautiful day. David, thanks for making this fantastic Ruby D. Tonic, it’s fabulous. Jeff, David, come on over, it’s party time. See you later, mates, cheers