10 Things You Didn’t Know About Gin Slideshow
April 8, 2016
Gin is one of the most complex spirits we enjoy and has a most intriguing history
The so-called "bathtub gin" — homemade spirits fashioned under amateur conditions (sometimes literally in bathtubs) — that was made in the United States during Prohibition had dangerous, even lethal, effects. - physical effects, as it often contained toxic methanol. As a result of drinking low-grade, bootleg hooch, people were blinded and sometimes killed.
The term ‘Dutch courage" was coined by the British during the Thirty Years’ War. British soldiers saw the Dutch forces they were facing on the battlefield drinking jenever to boost morale before heading into battle. The results must have been impressive, because the Brits decided to adapt the spirit as their own.
Every Gin is Diverse
Natural botanicals sets gin apart from its counterpart, vodka. Some gins have as few as three or four botanical flavors while the Scottish gin Botanist has 22! While juniper is a constant, the other flavoring agents in gin range from cucumber and rose (Hendricks) to lavender (Aviation) to lemongrass and black pepper (Bombay Sapphire East). No two gins are alike, making the spirit very eclectic.
Gin and Tonic
You can’t go wrong with a perfect gin and tonic. Apparently, doctors in the 1700s felt the same way, as this tipple was invented and prescribed to patients as a cure for malaria. Quinine, the ingredient that contributes toward tonic water’s distinctive taste, was used to treat the disease. On its own, it was awful, so sugar, gin, and soda water came into the mix, thus creating the non-alcoholic portion of the beloved Gin and Tonic.
In the mid 1700s in England, with inferior gin available at low prices, a public outcry arose. Everyone had easy access to the intoxicant, whose inebriating effects promoted social breakdown, with an increase in disease and crime, including prostitution and murder. Gin was the crystal meth of its day. A vivid representation of the problem is the 1751 print called "Gin Lane," by English artist William Hogarth, depicting the squalor in a neighborhood populated by London's poor, their lives ruined by addiction to gin. The Gin Act of 1751, whose passage was spurred at least partially by Hogarth's illustration, along with early regulations, severely restricted the sale of the liquor, and the craze for gin abated somewhat.
In the 1600s, gin was believed to have healing powers. Dutch pharmacies sold the spirit as an herbal medicine to treat kidney and stomach ailments, gout, and gallstones, among other physical illnesses.