Why Do Gin & Tonics Glow? | VinePair

Why Do Gin & Tonics Glow?

1 minute Read


This is why gin and tonics glow in the dark

A gin and tonic is a supremely classy drink, which is why you might not find yourself drinking one in a tacky nightclub. However, if you ever find yourself at a venue with a blacklight and a G&T in hand, you might notice that your drink will take on a glow. Here’s why:

Contrary to what you might think, the glow isn’t in the gin, but rather in the tonic. Tonic contains a chemical called quinine (not to be confused with quinoa), which was originally used to treat malaria. When tonic is exposed to ultraviolet light, it fluoresces. This means that as that club blacklight hits the tonic water (specifically the quinine molecules), the quinine soaks up the UV light, then spits it back out. The new, re-emitted light wavelength is longer than the radiation initially acquired, and the length discrepancy makes the light visible. In other words, the tonic water will shine.

So, while gin itself isn’t fluorescent, a G&T is the perfect glowing drink. There are lots of other tricks out there that can turn your drinks from dull to neon under the judgment of a blacklight, as well. For instance, if you crush vitamin b and even spinach in alcohol, under the right circumstances, you could find yourself with a very special cocktail.

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