The Mamani Gin & Tonic from Amy Stewart, The Drunken Botanist



Listen to the interview.

Amy Stewart is the award-winning author of six books on the perils and pleasures of the natural world, including three New York Times bestsellers: Wicked Bugs, Wicked Plants, and Flower Confidential. She is the cofounder of the popular blog Garden Rant and a contributing editor at Fine Gardening magazine. She and her husband, Scott Brown, live in Eureka, California, where they own an antiquarian bookstore called Eureka Books.

It occurred to Amy, while sitting in a bar with a friend, that all the bottles behind the bar were nothing but distilled and fermented plant extracts. And many of these plants were introduced to the world thanks to a botanist or plant explorer. You can thank Manual Incra Mamani, a Bolivian guide who helped explorer and exporter Charles Ledger secure a supply of the seeds of the cinchona tree, from which quinine is extracted, for the Gin & Tonic. Mamani died after being imprisoned for helping Ledger. His sacrifice gave the world quinine, a treatment for malaria that also adds a bitter flavor to tonic water.

Enjoy this recipe for The Mamani Gin & Tonic from The Drunken Botanist


Jalapenos and tomatoes, two South American natives, pay tribute to Manuel Incra Mamani, the man who lost everything to bring quinine to the rest of the world.

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the gin with 2 slices of the jalapeno, 1 sprig of cilantro, and the chunk of cucumber. Fill a highball glass with ice; layer in 1 or 2 slices of jalapeno, a sprig of cilantro, and the slice of cucumber. Strain the gin and pour over ice. Fill the glass with tonic water; garnish with cherry tomatoes on a pick.

What's Needed:


1 ½ ounces gin
1 jalapeno (or, if you prefer, a milder pepper), seeded, cored, and sliced
2 to 3 sprigs fresh cilantro or basil
1 cucumber (1 chunk and 1 swizzle-stick-shape slice needed)
High-quality tonic (look for a brand without high-fructose corn syrup, like Fever-Tree or Q Tonic)
3 red or orange cherry tomatoes

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