It’s hard to believe that, until a few years ago, gin was considered old-fashioned. A pink gin or a G&T were definitely the drinks of the older generation. Then suddenly – gin was in! Artisan gin producers started springing up everywhere and pubs, like ours, began stocking lots of different brands, quite a few of them locally produced.
There’s a lot of interesting information about the origins of gin – the most controversial being whether it’s an English or Dutch invention! We’ll be bringing you some fun facts to keep your spirits up!
• Most authorities seem to agree that Gin is English – not Dutch. Genever, a malted spirit that more like a light whisky with juniper, is Netherlands’ version. Gin, as we know it, was developed in London and is a unique and much purer spirit.
• Gin was born around 1689. The earliest known food pairing occurred in 1731: gingerbread!
• By 1726, London had 1,500 working stills and there were 6,287 places where you could buy gin.
• Gin’s primary flavour is the sweet pine and soft citrus of the juniper berry. All other botanicals are added to highlight nuances of this complex and sophisticated flavour.
• The gin and tonic first gained popularity in the British colonies, as the quinine in the tonic water was an effective deterrent to malaria-carrying mosquitoes. However, the bitterness of the quinine was awful, so gin was added to make the drink taste better.
• Though James Bond’s famous “shaken, not stirred” line is probably the most remembered Martini quote in the world, the majority of bartenders disagree and would recommend a stirred Martini instead, as shaking prompts too much dilution.
• Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond books, left an additional impression on gin drinkers: he’s credited with inventing the Vesper, a cousin of the Martini that blends gin, vodka, and vermouth – topped with a lemon twist.