Back to All Events

From Plants to Pills: Gin, Tonic and Biopiracy

  • Primary 33 Seely Road Nottingham, England, NG7 United Kingdom (map)

A workshop to make your own tonic water using Cinchona bark, the quinine-rich plant that gives tonic its bitter flavour. We’ll try out recipes together, share a gin and tonic, and trace the story of quinine. Originally utilised by the indigenous Quechua people of South America, the bark of the Cinchona tree connects the invasion of these lands to expanding European colonialism, disease, biopiracy and pharmaceuticals.

This is the first of two hands-on workshops with artist Rebecca Beinart, exploring plant ingredients used by Boots to develop and produce medicines at their factories in Nottingham. Take a closer look at the 'exotic' ingredients Boots were importing during the era of British Empire, find connections between every-day drugs, plants, colonialism and ownership of knowledge, and explore recipes and records from the archive.

These workshops are part of Rebecca Beinart’s ‘Urban Antibodies’ project and are supported by the University of Nottingham.

Image: Boots Archive

Image: Boots Archive