Enjoying a sparkling glass of gin is a pleasure many of us take for granted, however, the history of gin may surprise you. We’ve collated our favourite gin facts for you to peruse while you sip on your favourite gin drink.
Fact 1: Not quite as British as you think…
Whilst gin is the national spirit of England, the original spirit was actually created in Holland! The Dutch physician, Franciscus Sylvius created what was known as Genever in the 1500s. It was sold as a medicinal mixture, touted to help with circulation and sold in pharmacies across the country. Genever was given to Dutch soldiers during the Dutch Independence War and is where the term ‘Dutch Courage’ originates from.
Fact 2: Gin Meets Tonic
The origin of the gin and tonic dates back to the 18th century when British soldiers stationed in India were combating malaria. Quinine, a bitter compound derived from the bark of the cinchona tree, was known for its anti-malarial properties. To make quinine more palatable, they mixed it with water and sugar, creating tonic water. However, the British soon realised that the quinine's bitterness was more tolerable when combined with gin! Thus, the gin and tonic was born.
Fact 3: The Birth Of The Gimlet
Whilst those stationed in India used Gin and Tonics to see off the threat of malaria, on the high seas it was used for a different reason - to combat scurvy! British sailors received a ration of rum whereas the naval officers were given a ration of gin. As scurvy was prevalent and threatened those on long voyages they would mix their gin with lemon juice to get enough vitamin C. This mixture became the modern Gimlet cocktail that we know today!
Fact 4: Mothers Ruin
In 1670 the Distillers Act was passed by King William, allowing the public to produce alcohol for free in their own home providing they passed a 10-day public notice. This led to a lot of gin houses being opened, equating to 1 in 3 drinking establishments of the time! They were also the first public houses that allowed women to drink alongside men. The strong, unregulated gin they drank would lead to poor health and madness, causing many women to neglect their families and earning gin the unfortunate moniker of Mother’s Ruin.
Fact 5: Gin Spreads Far And Wide
The gin we enjoy today has come a long way from the early days of genever and malaria medicine. With new distilleries opening all the time, and an innovative approach to flavours (including peppercorn, truffle and squid ink varieties), gin has evolved so much as a spirit and there really is something for everyone. Surprisingly, the Philippines consumes the most gin worldwide, consuming an estimated 43% of global gin production, with “Ginuman” being a specific Tagalog language word for a gin-drinking session!
We hope these facts have got your mouth-watering and will enhance your experience next time you enjoy a delicious gin drink. One thing sure to take your experience to the next level is when it is served in an eye-catching Lolita glass! Whether you choose a large-bowled glass such as the Dragonfly Gin Glass, a sophisticated stemless number like the Fancy Flamingo Stemless Glass or a classy cocktail glass like the Negroni Cocktail Glass, let’s toast to the special spirit this International Gin Day!