On the Deeper Meaning of ‘Gin and Tonic’

One of my favorite authors [Douglas Adams] once pondered at length on the notion of the [Gin ‘n’ Tonic] in one of my favorite books [The Restaurant at the End of the Universe]. Surely although the drinks are “not the same,” Adams calls into question the very raison d’être of one’s being and the presence of a drink that fulfills the role of the Gin and Tonic. Although surely one of the most delicious drinks there are, I think that what he’s saying is that no matter who or what we are, there is a time and a place for that underlying essential-ness which the gin and tonic represents. 

Perhaps you’re saying, “Just give me a drink already, I didn’t come here for philosophy.” And to that, I say, sure, but while you’re here, why not enjoy one of the best examples of the Gin and Tonic making itself known in modern literature. Regular reviews and cocktail-ology returns later this week.

“It is a curious fact, and one to which no one knows quite how much importance to attach, that something like 85% of all known worlds in the Galaxy, be they primitive or highly advanced, have invented a drink called jynnan tonnyx, or gee-N’N-T’N-ix, or jinond-o-nicks, or any one of a thousand or more variations on the same phonetic theme. The drinks themselves are not the same, and vary between the Sivolvian ‘chinanto/mnigs’ which is ordinary water served at slightly above room temperature, and the Gagrakackan ‘tzjin-anthony-ks’ which kill cows at a hundred paces; and in fact the one common factor between all of them, beyond the fact that the names sound the same, is that they were all invented and named before the worlds concerned made contact with any other worlds.

What can be made of this fact? It exists in total isolation. As far as any theory of structural linguistics is concerned it is right off the graph, and yet it persists. Old structural linguists get very angry when young structural linguists go on about it. Young structural linguists get deeply excited about it and stay up late at night convinced that they are very close to something of profound importance, and end up becoming old structural linguists before their time, getting very angry with the young ones. Structural linguistics is a bitterly divided and unhappy discipline, and a large number of its practitioners spend too many nights drowning their problems in Ouisghian Zodahs.” – Douglas Adams

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2 thoughts on “On the Deeper Meaning of ‘Gin and Tonic’

    Nicholas Joll

    ‘“Just give me a drink already’ – on a *website*? Anyhow, you have quoted a lovely passage!

  1. […] have it with juice or tonic. Gin and tonic, I thought. The drink of my British ancestors. The linguistic trans-galactic universal beverage. Of course I’ll have […]

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