Quinine, which comes from the cinchona tree, or 'fever tree' as it is colloquially known, is tonic water's primary ingredient, and has an important role in the history of malaria treatment.
The healing properties of the 'fever tree' were first discovered in the 1600s when the bark was given to the Countess of Chinchon, who had contracted malaria (known colloquially as the 'fever') whilst living in Peru.
However it was only in the 1820s, when the benefits became world-renowned. Officers of the British Army in India, in an attempt to ward off malaria, mixed quinine with sugar and water, creating the first Indian Tonic Water. It was made more palatable when they added a little expedient of gin to the mixture. The original gin and tonic was thus born, and soon became the archetypal drink of the British Empire.
"THE GIN & TONIC HAS SAVED MORE ENGLISHMEN'S LIVES, AND MINDS, THAN ALL THE DOCTORS IN THE EMPIRE"
- WINSTON CHURCHILL
Fever-Tree takes its name from a colloquial name for the cinchona tree in Congo, where our signature quinine is sourced. Travelling across the world in search for the best ingredients for our first tonic water, Charles and Tim encountered the echoes of this story. We feel strongly connected to the continuing effects of malaria across the world, including many of the communities where we source our ingredients, and since 2013 we have worked with Malaria No More UK to fight this preventable and treatable disease.