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Tonic water, also known as Indian tonic water, is a carbonated drink containing quinine. The drink has its origins as a malaria prophylaxis (hence ‘Indian’) but now has a significantly lower quinine content and is drunk for its distinctively bitter taste. The original medicinal tonic water originally contained only carbonated water and a large amount of quinine. Nowadays, however, modern tonic water nowadays contains considerably less quinine, and lends only flavour and no medicinal benefit. These versions are much less bitter, and are also usually sweetened, either with natural sweeteners such as corn syrup or sugar, or low-calorie sweeteners to make a diet or light version.
Tonic water is a vital component of the gin and tonic, but is also a popular soft drink in its own right, often served with a slice of lemon or lime.