gin called mothers ruin

Why Is Gin Called Mother’s Ruin?

The term “Mother’s Ruin” is thought to have dated back to England’s 1700s “Gin Craze”, its low cost and addictive nature making the drink popular with poverty-stricken mothers, who subsequently became neglectful of their children and family.

While the Gin Craze of the 1700s, and its detrimental impact amongst the poorer members of society, has fortunately subsided, the term Mother’s Ruin has remained a popular nickname for gin.


The History Behind Mother’s Ruin

Various sources suggest that the phrase “Mother’s Ruin” came from gin’s rising popularity amongst women, to the detriment of their children, during the first half of the 18th century. But how did England get to this point?

Gin is known to have been used by British soldiers during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) throughout Central Europe. It’s claimed that the spirit helped calm their nerves before going into battle. Around the same time, gin was also being used throughout London for medicinal purposes, thought to be a treatment for indigestion and kidney problems.

By the start of the 1700s, gin production in the U.K.’s capital remained unlicensed, as the Government chose instead to tax other types of spirits. As a result of this, several thousands of gin shops rose throughout the country, marking the beginnings of England’s Gin Craze.

Throughout this period, gin remained cheap compared to other spirits. This coupled with England’s poverty struggles and overpopulation meant that the spirit became incredibly popular amongst poorer Brits, and in particular, poorer women.

It’s said that many women and mothers became hooked on the spirit throughout the first half of the 1700s, and their children became mistreated as a result of this – all of which is said to have led to the creation of the term Mother’s Ruin.

Thankfully, the booming gin market of today resembles nothing like England’s 18th century gin craze, this phase starting to diminish during the 1750 due to the Gin Act.


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Is Gin a Depressant?

Yes – gin, like all alcohol, is a depressant. Alcohol slows down functioning of the brain, depressing the central nervous system, which can result in the classic symptoms of someone who’s had one too many, including:

  • Slurred speech
  • Slow reactions
  • Unsteady movements
  • Distorted judgement
  • Lessened inhibitions

While gin is a depressant, this doesn’t mean it will cause depression. Drinking gin won’t make people feel any more depressed than if they were to drink other spirits, such as whisky or vodka.

However, as a depressant, it’s important to drink gin responsibly, as the drink can have a significant impact on your central nervous system.


Is Gin the Healthiest Alcohol?

It’s said that gin is one of the “healthier” tipples in the drinks cabinet, holding fewer calories and less sugar than other popular alcoholic beverages. Therefore, for those who drink alcohol, gin could be a better option to consider over other, high calorie/high sugar drinks.

This also makes gin a great option for those on a diet who want to shed a few pounds but don’t want to cut out alcohol. While gin doesn’t help with weight loss, it can help people cut down on calories as a replacement for beer (1 pint holding 239kcal), or even a glass of wine (175ml holding 133kcal) – with 50ml of gin holding just 95kcal.

However, while gin can be seen as a “healthy” spirit compared to other, high-sugar, high-cal alcoholic beverages, it’s also important to watch out for what you mix gin with. Some mixers can be filled with sugar, subsequently raising the sugar content of your drink altogether.

Thankfully, gin hasn’t lived up to its Mother’s Ruin nickname for quite some time, now being enjoyed as one of the lighter, low-calorie options for those who enjoy a drink or two.

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