As much as we love the return of spring, one downside is the onset of hay fever season, bringing with it symptoms such as watery eyes, an itchy throat and frequent sneezing. If you're one of the sufferers who have tried every medicine or natural remedy available to no avail, you may well find relief with one very unexpected remedy – gin and tonic!
Asthma UK says that while alcoholic drinks like beer and red wine often make hay fever and asthma worse due to the histamine and sulphites they contain, switching your regular tipple to gin might help to relieve symptoms more than other drinks.
Gin and tonic is the best alcoholic drink for hay fever sufferers
Clear spirits like gin and vodka both have a low histamine content, while gin also contains no sulphites, so it is especially good for people who are suffering from itchy eyes and a runny nose. As happy as we are to hear this, it's important to note that G&T won't cure your hay fever, it is simply the best option for sufferers who want an alcoholic drink.
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If you're keen to give it a try, you may want to follow these top tips from celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, who says we've been making the drink all wrong, and that your choice of tonic is just as important as the gin itself.
Hay fever leads to symptoms such as watery eyes and an itchy throat
Revealing his tips to Femail Food and Drink, Heston recommended people opt for a tonic with lower sugar content, and follow a specific order when mixing their drink. "Put the gin into the glass first and then add your citrus of choice, then plenty of ice and finally the tonic, to taste," Heston explained. "This order of assembly will allow the effervescence of the tonic to mix all of the flavours together without much stirring."
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And that's not all - your choice of glass is equally important. "The right one depends on the gin, the tonic and the garnishes," Heston said. "If the gin is particularly aromatic, you need a wide rimmed glass to ensure the aromas come through as you're drinking the cocktail."
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