Family

I bet you don't know the real history of the gin and tonic. It's crazy.

Turns out your favorite drink might have a super-weird history.

I bet you don't know the real history of the gin and tonic. It's crazy.

This story is about gin and tonics. But it starts with Britain taking over India.

Actually, it wasn't even Britain that did that at first. Let's back up even further, to where the story actually starts, which is with a trading company in the 1600s called the British East India Company.

Long story short, the East India Company came to India and they were like, "Oh, hey, is it OK if we put a factory here in this coastal city?"

India was like, "Yeah OK, I guess." But then the company was like "OK, well, how about a shit-ton of factories everywhere? Is that OK?"


And India was like, "Uhh, no, what? Don't do that. We don't like that."

So the company was like, "Oh, OK, no, we totally understand, all good!" And then they sent in their private army to take over a bunch of stuff and claim it as their own. Seriously.

Of course, India ended up fighting back, but then the whole United Kingdom got involved and just took over India, 'cause it was the 1800s and people didn't understand how colonialism was super messed up.

At this point, India was suddenly under British rule. Which the British really liked. Oh, except for the malaria.

Image from iStock.

Things seemed really bad for everyone involved. But then! Someone remembered this tree in Peru that had a special property that helped prevent malaria. "Why don't we grind it up into a powder and call it quinine and all not die?" this person said.

"Good idea," said the British.

England came up with a great plan of giving this new anti-malaria medicine to its soldiers. Smart!

So every soldier now had a daily ration of quinine. But there was one problem: It tasted super bad. Like, really, really bad. It's super bitter. Even if you add water and a ton of sugar, it's still super funky.

Then someone had the bright idea of adding a ton of alcohol to the tonic. Because why not, right? And so the troops were like, "Cool, what alcohol do we have? Oh, here's a ton of gin. Yup, just dump it on in there."

Just duuuuuump it in.

Yup.

Keep going.

And there you have it: gin and tonic.

All the soldiers were like, "Hey, this is actually kind of nice. Also, I'm no longer dying of malaria!"

Image from iStock.

Fun fact: It's not just that it tastes better 'cause it's suddenly alcoholic. Turns out, it's actually chemistry that makes it taste so good. A bunch of the different flavor molecules in gin kind of dog-pile onto the super-bitter quinine and hide it from our tongues, making the whole thing taste less bitter and more herbal!

Yay, science!

Eventually, all the British soldiers in India started drinking the ol' G&T.

Then the soldiers went back home to Britain and were like, "Hey, that drink was actually pretty good." So they went down to the bar and were like, "Hey, can I have this random medicine and gin mixed together, please?"

The bartenders were like, "Okaaaaay." And the soldiers were like, "We're going to drink a ton of these and make them super popular."

And then they did.

Oh, and what happened to India?

Well, suddenly it was the 20th century and that whole colonialism fad turned out to be not so popular anymore, especially with the people who, you know, had their countries taken away from them.

So these people started pushing back against British rule and eventually kicked them out in 1947! Woo!

There you go: the twisted, surprising, colonialism-based story of the gin and tonic.

So clink those glasses to weird history. Cheers!

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Eight months into the pandemic, you'd think people would have the basics figured out. Sure, there was some confusion in the beginning as to whether or not masks were going to help, but that was months ago (which might as well be years in pandemic time). Plenty of studies have shown that face masks are an effective way to limit the spread of the virus and public health officials say universal masking is one of the keys to being able to safely resume some normal activities.

Normal activities include things like getting a coffee at Starbucks, but a viral video of a barista's encounter with an anti-masker shows why the U.S. will likely be living in the worst of both worlds—massive spread and economic woe—for the foreseeable future.

Alex Beckom works at a Starbucks in Santee, California and shared a video taken after a woman pulled down her "Trump 2020" mask to ask the 19-year-old barista a question, pulled it back up when the barista asked her to, then pulled it down again.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Pete Buttigieg is having a moment. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana keeps trending on social media for his incredibly eloquent explanations of issues—so much so that L.A. Times columnist Mary McNamara has dubbed him "Slayer Pete," who excels in "the five-minute, remote-feed evisceration." From his old-but-newly-viral explanation of late-term abortion to his calm calling out of Mike Pence's hypocrisy, Buttigieg is making a name for himself as Biden's "secret weapon" and "rhetorical assassin."

And now he's done it again, this time taking on the 'originalist' view of the Constitution.

Constitutional originalists contend that the original meaning of the words the drafters of the Constitution used and their intention at the time they wrote it are what should guide interpretation of the law. On the flip side are people who see the Constitution as a living document, meant to adapt to the times. These are certainly not the only two interpretive options and there is much debate to be had as to the merits of various approaches, but since SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett is an originalist, that view is currently part of the public discourse.

Buttigieg explained the problem with originalism in a segment on MSNBC, speaking from what McNamara jokingly called his "irritatingly immaculate kitchen." And in his usual fashion, he totally nails it. After explaining that he sees "a pathway to judicial activism cloaked in judicial humility" in Coney Barrett's descriptions of herself, he followed up with:

Keep Reading Show less

When you picture a ballerina, you may not picture someone who looks like Lizzy Howell. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't.

Howell is busting stereotypes and challenging people's ideas of what a dancer should look like just by being herself and doing her thing in her own body. The now-19-year-old from Delaware has been dancing since she was five and has performed in venues around the world, including Eurovision 2019. She has won scholarships and trains up to four hours a day to perfect her skills in various styles of dance.

Jordan Matter Photography shared a documentary video about Howell on Facebook—part of his "Unstoppable" series—that has inspired thousands. In it, we get to see Howell's impressive moves and clear love of the art form. Howell shares parts of her life story, including the loss of her mother in a car accident when she was little and how she was raised by a supportive aunt who helped her pursue her dance ambitions. She also explained how she's had to deal with hate comments and bullying from people who judge her based on her appearance.

"I don't think it's right for people to judge off of one thing," Howell says in the video. And she's right—her size is just one thing.

Keep Reading Show less