Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Amazing Cure for Malaria...But Only Before 2006, and...Oh...

Have you ever heard that old adage that Ignorance is Bliss?  Better off not knowing?  If you knew then what you know now? Etc?

Tonight is an instance where knowledge is NOT power, it is a burden...and the Internet is a curse.

Q = Quinine.

Quinine is a herbal substance and it's what imparts its bitterness to tonic water...tonic water being a popular mixer for spirits.  The classic gin & tonic, vodka tonic, and about a million other combinations that would be amazing.

However, did you know quinine used to be a treatment for malaria?  And babesiosis...that weird disease the nurses ask about when you give blood (fyi, a disease transmitted by parasites like ticks - gross!)  These days, we've got such amazing advances in modern medicine, quinine is no longer Top of the List...only as a last resort, says the World Health Organization.

Because, as it turns out, quinine is one of those medicines that have a myriad of side-effects that seem a whole lot worse than just suffering through the damn malaria.  So, yay, WHO?

However, the quinine in tonic water is in such small amounts, it's hardly toxic to a healthy human being.  Unless...you drink MASSIVE amounts of tonic water...in which case, weirdosauce.

So...for those of us who enjoy a good gin & tonic...we may keep buying the tonic water that contains quinine. 

I cannot recall, exactly, when I had my first gin and tonic.  I can't remember if I loved it or was indifferent.  I just know at some point in my life, probably after 30, I began to love these cocktails.  I enjoy the piney/sometimes juniper-y flavor, combined with the fizzy bitterness of tonic, with an added splash of fresh lime juice.  Yes.  It is my favorite.  But...I've just recently become gin-aware.  And I do realize that gin matters.  Tanqueray is always a good middle-of-road choice.  Bombay is supremely special, and Magellan is very very nice as well.  If I had to make a choice between Seagram's and New Amsterdam, I'll choose Seagram's (crazy, isn't it?)

Always a lime.  And if I had my druthers, I'd want the barkeep to muddle a lime and include a wedge - both.  'Cause I'm fussy like that.

Q = Quinine.  Perfect for those pioneers traveling the Oregon Trail.  Would have saved them from malaria, and hadn't been outlawed by the World Health Organization yet.

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