31 Gin Facts You Need To Know
Being big fans of the wonderful spirit they call gin, we thought it was about time you got to know the facts about it! We’ve uncovered 31 facts that you probably didn’t know. So whether you enjoy a good old G&T, martini fan or love a good Tom Collins you’re in for a treat.
1. Gin was first born around 1689
It was some 40+ years later that the first known pairing of gin with food occurred (1731), this was a pairing with gingerbread, something that many gin lovers still do to this day
2. Gin as we know it is in fact British!
Many say that it is dutch but in Holland they actually created the spirit called Genever, which is different to what we all know now as gin, our gin is more pure and was first made in London. The dutch sold the Genever in pharmacies and it wouldn’t have been found when going for a drink unlike in Britain where it was drunk for enjoyment.
3. The world’s most expensive gin costs £2,000 per bottle
4. The majority of the juniper picked for use in gin are wild
Although the gin industry is a billion pound one that requires massive numbers of juniper berries, they are rarely cultivated, most are picked by hand in the wild across Europe.
5. It used to be drank to fight malaria
In the past tonic water which contains quinine was used to help fight off the malaria parasite, however it had a bitter taste which many didn’t like. The solution was to mix it with gin (many believe this is how the gin & tonic was invented). Today however most tonics don’t have as much quinine and some have none.
6. Bathtub Gin was a thing during prohibition
Although you’re more likely to hear about moonshine or whiskey during the era in America when alcohol was made illegal you may not know that gin was popular. As it’s quite easy to make many people would mix cheap grain alcohol in their bathtub with things like juniper juice, leave it to ferment and then distill it straight from the bathtub (hence it’s nickname).
7. Forget the Bloody Mary, Gin & Tomato juice used to be used as a hangover cure
During the 20’s in America (specifically New York) many would drink a mix of gin and tomato juice in order to help cure their hangovers, this was many years before the well known Bloody Mary was created.
8. British sailors used to get a daily rum ration, Naval officers got gin instead
Another interesting fact was that the naval ships were given supplies of limes instead of lemons (to put in drinks), though they had less vitamin C than lemons it was thought this was due to the British investors who had money in lime plantations influencing politicians.
9. The Philippines drink the most gin in the world
You may have thought it was us Brits but it is in fact the Philippines who drink the most gin per capita in the world. With over 40% of the world’s gin consumption approx 25 million cases of gin are consumed each year there.
10. Britain consumed 15 million litres of gin in 1721, in 2015 this was 29 million litres
The population in 1721 was approx 6 million, in the UK today it’s around 60 million, so you can tell consumption per person was a lot higher in the old days!
11. The UK spend over £1 billion a year on gin!
2015 was the first ever year that this milestone was made, 2016 looks likely to break the record again.
12. Just 37 years after gin was born London had over 1,500 stills
and you could go and get your gin fix in over 6,000 different places
13. 1 in every 4 buildings in London at one time had a gin still in it
image credit: insiderlondon
14. James Bond and his ‘shaken, not stirred’ martini does it wrong, stirring is better
Arguably the most famous Martini is the one ordered by James Bond, most bartenders and mixologists recommend that you stir it, they say that shaking it causes too much dilution.
15. ‘Dutch courage’ is related to gin
In the 1600’s, Franciscus Sylvius who was a physician in Holland was the man behind ‘genever’ which was a medicine believed to improve your circulation and help with other conditions, during the Independence war in Holland, soldiers were given it and hence the nickname ‘Dutch Courage’ was born.
16. The best way to taste & compare gins is at room temperature, diluted with an equal measure of water
This helps your taste buds to get the true taste, to identify the qualities and any flaws that may be in the gin.
17. The first man to sail around the world solo credited his success to a daily glass of pink gin
Sir Francis Chichester won the challenge in 1960, and had said that a glass of gin (with bitters and water) helped him get through the day, he also said that the worst day was when his gin ran out.
18. Legally all Gin must have ‘predominant juniper flavours’ however there isn’t any legislation on how much
This leaves the definition of what a gin is open to much debate, many companies will say newer gins shouldn’t be classed as gin as they have too many other flavours in them.
19. Gin & Tonic’s popularity can be related to India
Many British went to India in the 19th century, in an effort to avoid getting malaria tonic water was drank, gin was added to cover the bitter taste and thus why many Indian tonic waters are so popular, as well as the G&T combination itself.
20. The darker nickname for gin is ‘Mothers Ruin’
There are a few stories behind this nickname, but one is that as gin was cheap to make and consume it was the choice by many women who were prostitutes and this led to many induced abortions.
21. You can make gin at home very easily
You simply need a base spirit such as vodka and then infuse it with botanicals and juniper berries
22. In the early 1800’s London’s go to drink was the Hot Gin Twist
Made with gin, lemon juice, hot water and sugar syrup, it was so popular that one person wrote a poem all about it and its wonderful qualities, someone else loved it so much they wrote another which was about how good the drink was and how good the original poem was.
23. The well loved ‘Martini glass’ used to be called simply a ‘Cocktail glass’ until the 1990’s
It was only when martini style cocktails became very popular that the term stuck to the glass.
24. A good G&T cannot be made without a good tonic
As the majority of the drink is in fact tonic even if you have a high quality gin if you pair it with a low quality tonic then it can take away the benefits of having the higher quality gin!
25. The first recipe in the first ever cocktail book was a gin cocktail
The book was called ‘Cooling cups and Dainty drinks’ and the cocktail was gin, ginger syrup, orange curacao and bitters.
26. During the late 1800s and early 1900s the Gin Rickey was a very popular drink!
The drink is simply gin, ice, sparkling water and lime juice all mixed and served in a highball glass
27. The juniper berry isn’t actually a berry, it’s a seed cone
This female seed cone has evolved from a pinecone to have a more fleshy appearance which looks very much like a berry
28. Doctors often wore masks which were filled with juniper berries during the Plague outbreak
This was done as people thought that the plague was spread by bad and foul smells, so covering these smells with juniper berries would prevent them from catching it. Juniper was also thought to help ward it off in general so many people started to eat, drink and even bath in the berries.
29. Superstition says to prick berries used for making sloe gin with a silver needle before use
The wonderful and delicious sloe gin can be made with gin and berries from a blackthorn tree, the superstition above however is just a superstition, you can simply just freeze any berries you get and this causes their skin to break.
30. The famous Gin Act of 1736 made distillers of base spirits have to pay a yearly fee of £50 (around £20,000 in today’s money)
This hit the gin companies and thus led to many buying in the base spirits rather than producing it themselves.
31. The Queen Mother used to love a glass of Gin and Dubonnet before lunch
and who wouldn’t agree with that!
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