You can’t beat a gin and tonic on a Friday night. Or any night for that matter. It’s an absolute English staple – so popular is it that a recent market research report stated that UK sales of the spirit hit £1billion for the first time ever a couple of years back.
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So why do we love it so much? Well, according to Matthew Hartings, assistant professor in chemistry at the University of Washington, the chemical properties of gin and tonic have a special effect on each other when they’re mixed together.
He explains that the molecules in a g&t are attracted to each other because they’re similar substances. When put together, they create an aggregate. Basically the juniper berry botanical in gin merges perfectly with the bitter quinine from the tonic, creating a chemically perfect drink. Here’s what he had to say:
These aggregates create a taste sensation that is completely different from just gin and tonic on their own.
And this is why a gin and tonic doesn’t taste exactly like gin plus tonic.
This definitely makes sense. I don’t really like gin when it’s mixed with anything else and I definitely don’t like tonic water. But when the two are mixed, I’ll be downing them with the endurance of a 50-year-old taxi driver. Turns out gin and tonic is alcohol’s perfect love affair.
Although according to this study, if you do enjoy gin you are a hardened psychopath. I can live with that.