The History

Gin and Tonic and Indonesia

Cinchona bark is the single botanical ingredient in the TONIC that creates the legendary G&T…

The genus was named in 1742 after the 4th Countess of Chinchón and wife of a viceroy of Peru. The medicinal use of the quinine-containing bark were originally discovered by the Quechua peoples of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, and long cultivated by them. Peru and surrounding countries began outlawing the export of cinchona seeds and saplings. In the 19th century, seeds and cuttings were smuggled out for new cultivation in colonial regions of tropical Asia, by the British to India and Sri Lanka, and by the Dutch to Dutch East Indies, present-day Indonesia.

During World War II, the Japanese conquered Indonesia and the United States lost access to the cinchona plantations that supplied war-critical quinine medication. Botanical expeditions – called Cinchona Missions – were launched in 1942-1944 to locate cinchona species that contained quinine and could be harvested for quinine production.