Posted in Daily, Food, Stories Around the World

The “Petit Four” Story

“It was the best first kiss in the history of first kisses. It was as sweet as sugar. And it was warm, as warm as pie. The whole world opened up and I fell inside. I don’t know where I was, but I didn’t care. I didn’t care because the only person who mattered was there with me.” Sarah Addison Allen (author of The Sugar Queen)

Craving for a snack between meals, especially during office hours wherein it is a situation between the need for the sugar versus the knowing that control is a must (mind vs. body), the deli across the road offers a relief during the short breaks. With the variety of mignardises of petit four on display, these cravings can be satisfied when their effect runs too hard.

Known more commonly as petit four than mignardises, the former word when literally translated from French means “small oven”. These small bite sized single piece confectionery or savoury appetizer arose in the 18th and 19th century French cuisine.

Before the gas ovens had been invented, those years saw the large brick ovens (more common Dutch design) being used. The latter used to take a long time to heat up (especially to the bread baking temperatures) as well as cool down. Taking advantage of the stored heat, bakers used these ovens to bake pastry during the cooling process which was known as baking à petit four (literally “at small oven”).

Walking into any French patisserie, these assorted small desserts are usually called mignardises; whereas the hard, buttery biscuits are called petits fours. Similar to the petit four is the classical Austrian confection of pastry known as Punschkrapfen or Punschkrapferl (punch cake), which has a legend of it’s own.

These petits fours come in three main varieties, as Petit Fours Glacé (“glazed”) predominantly served as iced or decorated tiny cakes topped with marzipan covered in fondant or icing. The second category includes savoury bite-sized appetizers usually served at cocktail parties or buffets known as Salé (“salted”). The third category are the Sec (“dry”) which encompasses dry cookies, dainty biscuits, baked meringues, macarons, sable beurre, palmiers, duchesses and puff pastries, all baked at low temperatures for a long time. Other categorizations also include the Petits fours frais which are any small pastries like sponge cakes like madeleine, financiers, creme filled pastries like eclairs or tartlets, all these must be eaten the same day they are made for the quality is lost if they sit longer. On the healthier front, there is the “Petits fours Deguises”, made of fresh or dried fruit dipped in a sweet coating such as chocolate or cooked sugar.

Homemade petit fours can be made on a more simple and creative way with plenty of icing sugar, fondant, candied bit and pieces as well as the good old chocolate to add to the flavours and sparkle it to a work of art. With this wide assortment of treats, petit fours are indeed a delightful to enjoy that little bit of sugar, the concentrated way or slightly less or simply be savoury for a change.

Posted in Food, Stories Around the World

Of Kladdkaka and Chocolate

Butter. Eggs. Sugar. Cocoa or chopped dark chocolate. Vanilla sugar. Flour. Pinch of Salt.
Minimum Baking Time.

While prepping a sudden luncheon meet for old friends, the dessert dish had to be something different, for we three ladies were all dessert connoisseurs. Hunting down for quick cake recipes, had led to the Swedish Kladdkaka, a gooey choclate cake that requires the very basic ingredients and minimum preparatory as well as baking time. This venture had led to the revelation of interesting tidbits and details of this favoured Swedish delight.

Kladdkaka, literally translated as gooey or messy cake (more commonly known as “chocolate mud cake” is a dense sticky chocolate cake with a soft and gooey center, often served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and raspberries. Widely believed to be one of the best cakes for chocoholics, there are many variations to the standard recipe for this delight. One of the major reason for it’s gooey nature (quite different from brownies and other regular sugar cookies) is the absence of baking soda in this preparation. With just mild whisking, the absence of air bubble results in the stickiness.

While tracing the exact origin of this cake didn’t lead to any specific occasion or person, it is believed to have been inspired by the brownie or the French chocolate cake recipe; with its’ origin being at a time when baking soda wasn’t routinely available (probably around World War II). Another theory was that Kladdkaka came from Örebro where Gudrun Isaksson (1938) baked brownies from a recipe she received from the USA. As baking powder was difficult to get hold of then, the dough became liquid resulting in the chocolate mud cake. Alternatively it was believed that this cake came to Sweden via the editor-in-chief of the Veckojournalen (1968), Margareta Wickbom who had visited a cafe in Paris where she tasted chocolate cake and brought home the recipe. It was known as “Elake old man’s muffins” then, believed to be made first in muffin form.

Regardless of the roots, with the simplicity of the recipe, ingredients and quick baking time, it makes for a welcome change for the quick but elaborate dessert. Variations are there with coffee added to the regular flavour or making the cake on block chocolate to give a whitish texture to it, adding fruits or nuts as well as making the batter more lighter or luxurious or give it a flour-less twist. So for the kitchen experimenters or home chefs, dessertarian and chocoholics, here is another recipe and delight to add to the ever growing list.

“This cake is one of those cakes I take for granted somehow. I love it so much but I rarely bake it. Before I started baking like crazy, about 5 years ago, I used to bake two times a year, tops. Two times a year, that’s it. And when I did, it was always “kladdkaka” (roughly translated “sticky cake” or “gooey cake” but I’ll just call it Swedish chocolate cake). Why kladdkaka then? Well, first of all, it was the only recipe I knew how to make. Second, it’s probably the easiest thing you could possibly make, and it’s just so darn delicious. You simply have to make this one! And don’t forget to serve it with whipped cream (vanilla ice cream is ok as well)!”
Linda Lomelino, Call Me Cupcake

(Sources: http://kladdkakerecept.blogspot.com/, https://culturedarm.com/a-swedish-kladdkaka-recipe/)

Posted in Daily, Food, Photography Art, Stories Around the World

Little like the “Donut”

Deeply fried, made from flour dough, typically ring shaped with a hole or similar round shaped (without the hole), or filled with various toppings and flavourings, this sugar delight goes by the more popular name of “donut”. While donut may be considered more of an 18th century preparation with their origin more likely from the Dutch oliekoek, fried dough based confectionery has been there for quite some time in the various indigenous cuisines across the globe. The tradition of frying foods in edible oils have been evidenced to the era of Ancient Greece and Rome. As other cultures began to adapt their own methods over time, different variations came into the local cuisines, though the roots may trace back to common ground.

Made usually from flour (can include finely milled or regular variety) with a mix of water, eggs, milk, sugar, oil, shortening or leavening agents as well as flavourings added to the dough which is then shaped(or not) and deep fried. While doughnuts may be based on their shapes as rings, filled, balls, flattened spheres or twists; other variants include the cake type (like old fashioned doughnut) and the yeast-risen doughnuts. Exploring the indigenous variants to the modern “doughnuts” based on the indigenous cuisines, there a huge number of delicacies that fill the list with legends of their own.

“New mysteries. New day. Fresh doughnuts.” David Lynch

What happens when a baker accidentally drops a ball of dough into a pan of hot oil ? The resulting culinary experimentation would result in a light, spongy ring of dough fried in oil, when had in the Maghrebi cuisine, is known as “Sfenj” (translated as sponge). Also known as Khfaf (Algeria) or bambalouni (Tunisia), Sfenj is usually had for breakfast or tea, had plain or sprinkled with sugar or dipped to drizzled in honey or sweet syrup. Originating in the Al-Andalus era (8th to 10th century), the accidental drop of dough, had evolved to be an important part of the Andalusi cuisine, spreading over to the Banumarin dynasty (Morocco, 1270-1465) and then onto the France (13th century) where it had inspired beignets. Making homemade Sfenj, all depends on how long one wants the dough to rise and temperature of the oil while frying. Of recent, there have been recent variations to the regular sfenj, that is “Sfenj matifiyya” (sfenj pounded flat and fried a second time) and the “Sfenj matifiyya bil-baydh” (sfenj matifiyya with an egg added before refrying).

Moving across to the French Beignet (almost similar to the English fritter), these are basically a type of deep-fried pastry. Although beignets were more popular in the medieval French cuisine, the earliest similar forms may have been there in Ancient Rome. With the basic ingredients of flour, granulated sugar, evaporated milk, shortening agents and confectioner’s sugar; beignets can be made in various varieties depending on the pastry type used. While the French-style beignet is essentially deep fried choux pastry, beignets made with yeast pastry ( boules de Berlin) or those made with chestnut flour (Corsica, beignets de farine de châtaigne) with the latter being known as fritelli, are just few of the variants made. While making at home, many variations, add-ons or substitutes to the usual dough mix may be made, starting with the flour or adding of mashed bananas (plantains) or berries just to start off a few changes. Beignets may be served either as sweet desserts or breakfast food, the choice is own.

There are countless styles and variations to the various forms of “deep-fried dough” across the globe. While exploring and experimenting with the various cuisines, absorbing those recipes into the home kitchen and indigenous cuisine makes the fun part of cooking. Food is essential to life. Imbibing a litte bit of the food culture into the usual mix would not only excite the cooking bug or the palatal buds, but also start off a pleasant home and family tradition. After all, experiences are the what fills the treasure chests of life.

“Frosting was his favorite. He liked to eat doughnuts at every meal. Because it was healthier to eat six small meals a day than three large ones, he restricted himself: jellied for breakfast, glazed for brunch, cream-filled for lunch, frosting for linner, chocolate for dinner, and powdered sugar for 2 a.m. supermarket stakeout. Because linner coincided with the daily crime peak, he always ate his favorite variety to ease him. Frosting was his only choice now, and upsetting his routine was a quiet thrill.” Benson Bruno ( author of A Story That Talks about Talking Is Like Chatter to Chattering Teeth, and Every Set of Dentures Can Attest to the Fact That No..)

Posted in Daily, Food, Stories Around the World

As Simple as “Sandwich”

Typically there in almost every household menu, whether it be a snack meal, lunch or dinner or simply a flash picnic meal, ranging from being savoury to sweet or deli made as well as simple and loaded with plenty of fillings, sandwiches have been undeniably had by the old and the young, at some point of time. The popularity lies in it’s ease in making it as well as having it, tapering each menu as per own individual choice.

“The idea of a sandwich as a snack goes back to Roman times. Scandinavians perfected the technique with the Danish open-faced sandwich, or smorroebrod, consisting of thinly sliced, buttered bread and many delectable toppings.” DeeDee Stovel ( author of Picnic: 125 Recipes with 29 Seasonal Menus)

Fillings of either a savoury kind (vegetables, sliced cheese, meat and the like) or simply something sweet and buttery placed on or between slices of bread (two or more) make up the basic sandwich. Although in general, if two or more pieces of bread serve as a wrap or container holding in a set of fillings, which can be had as finger foods, constitute “the sandwich”. Though the name “sandwich” is attributed to John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, this basic combination has been there quite earlier.

The use of bread (including flat-breads) or bread-like staple to lie over and under or simply cover up or used to scoop up, enclose or wrap up another mix of ingredients was used in such a fashion in various cultures across the continents. Throughout Western Asia and northern Africa areas, the indigenous cuisine had the use of flat-breads ( bread baked in flat rounds, contrasted tot he European loaf), whih were used to scoop or wrap small amounts of food (in a spoon like fashion) while having the meal.

As per records, Hillel the Elder (ancient Jewish sage) had wrapped meat from the Paschal lamb and bitter herbs in a soft matzah—flat, unleavened bread—during Passover (like a modern wrap). The European Middle Ages saw “trenchers” (thick slabs of coarse and usually stale bread) being used as plates. After the meal, these food-soaked trenchers were fed to dogs. Seventeenth century Netherlands had the immediate culinary precursor (with a direct connection to the English sandwich)as recorded by the naturalist John Ray that in the taverns beef hung from the rafters “which they cut into thin slices and eat with bread and butter laying the slices upon the butter”, which were served as the Dutch “belegde broodje” an open-faced sandwich.

“It’s like making a sandwich. I start with the bread and the meat. That’s the architecture. Add some cheese, lettuce and tomato. That’s character development and polishing. Then, the fun part. All the little historical details and the slang and the humor is the mayonnaise. I go back and slather that shit everywhere. The mayo is the best part. I’m a bit messy with the mayo.” Laini Giles

Moving forwards to the eighteenth century England, the popularity of the sandwich arose as the popular myth that bread and meat sustained Lord Sandwich at the gambling table (as recorded in Tour to London by Pierre-Jean Grosley). As legend goes Lord Sandwich ( being a very conversant gambler and into many portfolios for the government) didn’t take the time to have a meal during his long hours playing at the card table. Instead he would ask his servants to bring him slices of meat between two slices of bread. This habit (well known among his gambling friends) enticed them to order as “the same as Sandwich!”. Thus the terminology “sandwich” was born. Alternative account as written by N.A.M.Rodger (Sandwich’s biographer), who suggests that Sandwich’s commitments to the navy, politics and the arts meant that the first sandwich was more likely to have been consumed at his work desk. As per records the original sandwich was a piece of salt beef between two slices of toasted bread.

What was initially perceived as food that men shared while enjoying a game or drink as social nights, the sandwich slowly began appearing in polite society as a late-night meal among the aristocracy. With the rise of the industrial era and the working classes as well as the ease of making and inexpensive ingredients, the popularity of the sandwich rose in the nineteenth century. The street vendors had popularized the sandwich sales (London, 1850). Also typically serving liver and beef sandwiches, sandwich bars were set up (especially in western Holland). The sandwich was first promoted as an elaborate meal at supper, in the United States. As bread became a staple of the American diet (early 20th century), the sandwich became the same kind of popular, quick meal following the widespread trend of the Mediterranean and European cuisine.

“I love sandwiches. Let’s face it, life is better between two pieces of bread.” Jeff Mauro

By itself, sandwich has a wide range of varieties, from the simple PB&J sandwich to the more complicated fillings. Broadly mentioning the major types of sandwich include those with the two slices of bread (or halves of a baguette or roll) with other ingredients between; more complex sandwiches like club, hero, hoagie or submarine sandwich, open-faced sandwich and the pocket sandwiches. Based on the fillings as well as type of sandwich, there is the BLT, cheese sandwich, French dip, hamburger, Monte Cristo, muffuletta, pastrami on rye, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cheese-steak, Reuben and sloppy joe to mention a few.

Few misnomers include the sandwich cookies and ice cream sandwiches, named by analogy not because of them being bread containing food are generally not considered sandwiches in the sense of a bread-containing bits. Another variant is the layer cake or sandwich cake, made of multiple stacked sheets of cake, held together by frosting or another filling type like such as jam or other preserves.

“Enjoy every sandwich.” Warren Zevon

Sandwiches, today can be filled with a variety of fillings, ingredients based on choice, availability, ingenuity and locality. From the Baloney salad sandwich to the Vietnamese Bánh mì or the Chilean Churrasco, French croque-madam, Chinese Rou jia mo, Southeast Asian Roti john, Finnish Ruisleipä and Hunagrian Zsíroskenyér to mention a few, the sandwich culture has evolved in a way. Keeping in a more creative manner fillings can range from the more bizarre like popcorn or marshmellows to Oreo cookies or the more intricate and spicy curry for a change. So when in a flurry for time, getting creative with a sandwich can o wonders for the body, mind and soul.

“I put some flour, salt, and spices in a freezer bag and then put the pieces of lamb in and then went shake-shake-shake. The lamb was nicely covered with the flour. I browned the lamb and then put it aside. Then I fried some onion with cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom, added some tomatoes and then the lamb, and cooked until the lamb was all flaky. I mixed chopped lettuce, pieces of avocado, and pomegranate seeds, along with a little bit of lemon juice. I cut the pita bread open, put the lamb curry in, and then the lettuce-avocado mixture. All done!” Amulya Malladi (author of Serving Crazy with Curry)

  

        

Posted in Daily, Food, Stories Around the World

“Pop” the Corn

One of the appealing reasons of having the children start off the early weekend at the family homestead are the possibility of enjoying the late movie nights. While all their cousins gather for fun night followed by sleepover, we adults can enjoy a late night with either a marathon movie run with that huge tempting bowl of popcorn. Minus this combination, the movie runs feel incomplete. Along with the numerous flavourings and seasonings, each popcorn night lets the experimentation streak run free.

“Have you ever pondered the miracle of popcorn? It starts out as a tiny, little, compact kernel with magic trapped inside that when agitated, bursts to create something marvelously desirable. It’s sort of like those tiny, little thoughts trapped inside an author’s head that? in an excited explosion of words?suddenly become a captivating fairy tale!” Richelle E. Goodrich

One of the first use of the first use of wild and early cultivated corn was popping. Food historians believe that popped corn was integral to the South American regions as well as a part of the Aztec Indian ceremonies (early 16th century). As recorded by Bernardino de Sahagun, “And also a number of young women danced, having so vowed, a popcorn dance. As thick as tassels of maize were their popcorn garlands. And these they placed upon (the girls’) heads.” To date, the oldest ears of popcorn ever found were discovered in west central New Mexico(Bat Cave, 1948 and 1950) and dated to about four thousand years old.

Not just for basic food, popcorn was also used as decoration for ceremonial headdresses, necklaces and ornaments on statues of their gods (Aztec Indian), including Tlaloc, the god of rain and fertility. Following the traditions of Peruvian Indians, “They toast a certain kind of corn until it bursts. They call it pisancalla, and they use it as a confection (Spaniard Cobo, 1650).” Accounts of French explorers wrote of Iroquois people popping tough corn kernels in pottery jars filled with heated sand.

Early Spanish accounts write of various ceremonies honouring their gods as, “They scattered before him parched corn, called momochitl, a kind of corn which bursts when parched and discloses its contents and makes itself look like a very white flower; they said these were hailstones given to the god of water.” Finding it’s place among burial grounds as well, these kernels of popcorn were so well preserved that they would pop even though they were a thousand years old.

With colonization, trade imports and exports, popcorn had entered into the food patterns of the settlers and colonists. Initially through the 19th century popping of the kernels was achieved by hand on the stove-top. In fact the term “popped corn” first appeared in John Russell Bartlett’s Dictionary of Americanisms(1848) with the very early years seeing them popped by hand and added as ingredients to various products. Although popcorn was beloved by families as a late-night snack in front of the fire, or at picnics and sociables; mass consumption of the treat took off after Charles Cretors, a Chicago based entrepreneur who had built the first popcorn-popping machine (late 1890s) with the arrival of street carts with fully equipped steam-powered popcorn makers.

Adding to the ease of availability was the fairly inexpensive cost, such that it became a popular snack especially during the Great Depression. With the snack being popular especially at the movies as well as drive in shows, carnivals, fairs and matches, it became an essential part of these events. Over time popcorns have evolved from their basic style to a varied range of flavoured variants like caramel chipotle, coffee caramel and kettle, cheddar; although the classic butter and salt still stays ahead on the favoured list.

“Of course life is bizarre, the more bizarre it gets, the more interesting it is. The only way to approach it is to make yourself some popcorn and enjoy the show.” David Gerrold

Not just for the basic munch time, popcorn has found it’s place in numerous recipes like cheesy popcorn bread, power bars, glazed into sweet treats, muffins or as an add on to the salads, cereals, healthy mixes or simply into edible or inedible art, going beyond the food zone. Little wonder then why this kernel of delight has stayed on since it’s evolution from the very early years, still being a favourite then and now, with age never being a barrier.

Posted in Daily, Food, Stories Around the World

Of Pasta, Origin and Style

“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” Federico Fellini

Typically made from an unleavened dough of durum wheat flour (semolina) mixed with water or eggs, formed into various shapes or as sheets, then cooked by boiling or baking, pasta has been there since the ancient years. Although etymology speaking, the first English attestation of the word “pasta” (1874) comes from Italian pasta, which was from the Latin pasta, the latter being the  Latinization of the Greek παστά (pasta) meant as “barley porridge”.

“You don’t need a machine to make pasta: a rolling pin and a fast hand can create a smooth, if thick, sheet.” Yotam Ottolenghi

Broadly divided as two categories of fresh (pasta fresca, prepared traditionally by hand or at home) and dried (pasta secca, commercial preparation). One of the advantages of pasta is it’s versatility from being the main course to a side dish, as salad or as a filler for sandwiches or as an accompaniment to main course or as light lunches. Classically there are three main kinds of prepared dishes. One type is the pasta asciutta (or pastasciutta) wherein the cooked pasta is plated and served with a complementary side sauce or condiment. Another is the pasta in brodo, in which the pasta is part of a soup-type dish. The third category is the pasta al forno where the pasta is incorporated into a dish that is subsequently baked in the oven.

Tracing the origin of pasta, the entire roots don’t lead back to Italy alone. The writings of Horace (1st century AD) mention lagana (singular: laganum) made of fine sheets of fried dough used in the daily menu. Athenaeus of Naucratis (2nd century AD) provides a recipe attributed to Chrysippus of Tyana(1st century AD) wherein sheets of dough made of wheat flour and the juice of crushed lettuce, then flavoured with spices and deep-fried in oil. However the method of cooking these sheets of dough does not correspond to the modern pasta, although the basic ingredients and perhaps the shape were similar. Food historians have noted several milestones, similar to pasta. Like the itrion (mentioned by Greek physician Galen, 2nd century AD) as homogeneous compounds made of flour and water, later modified as a boiled dough known as itirum common to Palestinian lands (300 to 500 AD) and recorded so in the Talmud. The Arab physician and lexicographer Isho bar Ali (9th century AD) defines itriyya, the Arabic cognate, as string-like shapes made of semolina and dried before cooking. A form of itriyya is laganum (Latin) which refers as a thin sheet of dough, a precursor of the modern Italian lasagna.

“You can buy a good pasta but when you cook it yourself it has another feeling.” Agnes Varda

The North African areas had couscous (steamed balls of crushed durum wheat semolina or of pearl millet and sorghum), more like droplets of dough which is less malleable than pasta. Rustichello da Pisa writes in his Travels that Marco Polo described a food similar to “lagana”. With traces of pasta being found in Ancient Greece and later Arabian cuisine records of similar dishes, pasta has come a long way before being ingrained into the Italian cuisine and culture. The first concrete information concerning pasta products in Italy dates from the 13th or 14th century. And as far as shapes of pasta and their sauces are concerned, there is a whole mine of information out there. From long to short, minute pasta for soups (pastina) or pasta all’uovo (egg pasta), there are many varieties of the basic pasta. For those of us, who need them gluten free, alternatives include rice flour, brown rice, shirataki noodles, chickpea, quinoa, corn, millet, buckwheat and amaranth to mention a few with certain varieties of gluten free being multigrain (mix of all above).

Although pasta dishes are generally simple, individual dishes vary in preparation with the flavors of local cuisine being incorporated when possible. With the mood for autumn setting in and ingredients varying to availability and choice, spicing up a basic pasta dish to the more elaborate style can set the creative cooking into full swing with an undeniable delectable pleasure for the palate and the taste buds. A bit of pasta can add plenty of spice, the way one wants it so.

Posted in Daily, Food, Stories Around the World

The “Gin and Tonic” Way

“A Spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
The medicine go down-wown
The medicine go down
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way”
( Excerpt from the Lyrics of A Spoonful of Sugar in the movie Mary Poppins, an 1964 American musical fantasy film.)

The process of making any child take their medicine involves plenty of guile and quick action. Maybe such a trick was used by the Scottish doctor George Cleghorn to ensure that quinine had reached the officers in the malaria prone areas of the Indian subcontinent and other tropical regions (1700s).

“The gin and tonic has saved more Englishmen’s lives, and minds, than all the doctors in the Empire.” Winston Churchill

To mark the bitter taste of quinine, a traditional cure for malaria, it was drunk in tonic water to mask the bitter taste. The early 19th century saw the British officers add a mixture of water, sugar, lime and gin to the quinine in order to make the drink more palatable, thus leading to the birth of gin and tonic. With the passage of years and evolution of modern medicine, the quinine in tonic water has been tapered down to a bare minimum. In hindsight, science has proved that essentially this practice of quinine intake was impractical for malaria prophylaxis or even treatment. Keeping those facts aside, it is the “gin and tonic” that stays on.

“When life gives you juniper berries, make gin!” Laurie Buchanan

Today gin and tonic serves as a highball cocktail with the ratio of gin to tonic varying as per taste, strength of the gin, the presence of other drink mixers; although most recipes mention a ratio between 1:1 to 1:3. The classical garnish was with a slice or wedge of lime. The mixers today include lime juice, lemon juice, orange juice, spiced simple syrup, grenadine, tea or a dash of champagne (the Parisian), super smokey whiskey (the Ol’ Smokey), peach liqueur and grapefruit bitters (Tonic Delight), mint bitters and chocolate liqueur (the Guilty Pleasure) and the like or simply mixed with a sorbet. From the classical lime wheel garnish to the orange peel, a slice of ginger, star anise, thyme-elder flower or the more exotic combinations of pink grapefruit and rosemary, mint and black peppercorns, strawberry and basil the evolution of the garnishes for gin and tonic is depending on own taste and local availability. The Spanish variation of gin and tonic has the drink from being fruit based or the use of herbs and vegetables served in a balloon glass as the latter helps to appreciate the aroma of the drink better.

On similar lines to gin and tonic, the Dubonnet, a sweet, aromatised wine-based aperitif made as a blend of fortified wine, herbs, and spices with alcohol was first sold by Joseph Dubonnet (1846) to find a way of persuading French Foreign Legionnaires in North Africa to drink quinine. Likewise the “Lillet” and quinquina were similar aperitif wines initially made for medical reasons with the latter purpose made obsolete over time.

The popularity of the variations of the gin and tonic has led to the establishment of exclusive Gin-Tonic bars, in which customers can choose their preferred gin, tonic, and garnish from a menu. With the creativity streak coming to the forefront at gatherings especially when supplies are limited, the different variations of gin and tonic bring forth recipes and mixes worth the change.