Gin and tonic

Gin is a colorless alcoholic liquid made of distilled grain mash flavored with juniper berries. Put that way, it sounds pretty boring—basically dressed-up vodka. But have an ounce (or, say, 11 ounces) and you’ll feel much differently. Gin was once used to offset the bitter flavor of the anti-malarial drug quinine, and for some reason that flavor combination worked so well that it persists in the cocktail gin & tonic (as tonic water contains small amounts of quinine). It’s also the primary ingredient of the martini, among numerous other mixed drinks. Gin can also, of course, be a card game, a device that removes seeds from cotton, or a ghost town in Mississippi. And let’s not forget Jin (a character on LOST) and djinn (a genie). You have my permission to celebrate any of those things on World Gin Day today.