Gin has a long and questionable history. First drunk as a ‘herbal medicine’ way back in 70 AD, it became a hugely widespread beverage in the 1600s. Back then, it was cheaper than beer, which led to all kinds of social problems in the lower classes. Unfortunately, the distillers were not especially reputable types and thought nothing of adding tasty ingredients such as sawdust and sulphuric acid to their beverages.
Thankfully times have changed and today, gin is a fashionable beverage and available in a wide range of flavours. If you’re a fan of this exceptional beverage, read on to learn more about the UK’s favourite tipple.
1. It, Truly, Lasts Forever
Whereas some alcoholic beverages lose their shine after a few decades, we can see that this is a drink that doesn’t have any deadline. The absolute nastiest that can happen is that your flask will become slightly less potent over time. This is an excellent reason to keep chugging away at your favourite bottle!
2. It is a Healthy Drink
Whilst it’s not healthy to sink a bottle of Beefeater over breakfast, it is one of the strongest spirits you can drink. For one thing, unlike red wine, it is very low in calories, especially if you drink it with tonic. For another, it is distilled from juniper berries, which are regarded as a superfruit thanks to their high levels of Vitamin C and flavonoids. Also, it can help by improving your digestion, although moderation is key. There are some wonderful ones available to try from retailers like The Crafty Vintner, so why not sample some new flavours while on your health kick?
3. Who Invented it?
It is widely believed that the person behind the invention of this drink was Franciscus Sylvius. We are talking about a 16th-century Dutch doctor who was looking towards creating a cure for some condition. Due to the high-concentration of concoctions, he believed that he invented a drink that can help people who have bad blood circulation. It is interesting to know that soldiers were given this drink. At that time. It was referred to as “Dutch Courage”.
4. It Orriginated in the Netherlands
Even though England is often credited as the country that practically invented gin, it needs to be said that this is not entirely true. Instead, this highly-popular drink has its roots in the Netherlands. While the exact date of its invention is not known, the moment when it crossed the English Channel is well known. It happened during the 17th century during the Dutch War of Independence. Englishmen loved it so much that they decided to take it back home with them. What we know as the UK-style gin was created almost two centuries after this drink touched England’s soil.
5. The Gin &Tonic was Born in India
Gin & tonic is a very popular drink, but the reason tonic water was originally added as a mixer to gin was that it contained high levels of quinine, and in the Indian sub-continent, malaria was (and still is) a huge problem. Back in the 1800s, when a large number of Brits lived in India, drinking it with tonic was a good way to fight off malaria. Indian tonic water had an unpleasant bitter flavour, but gin masked the taste well. And so, a famous drink was born.
6. Gin was Originally Sold as a Health Tonic
Crazy as it seems today, gin was once sold in pharmacies as a health tonic, so people could pick up a flask of gin along with some medicinal herbs. It’s questionable that gin could cure medical problems in the 17th century, but at least those who tried it as a ‘cure’ were probably less miserable, and it certainly would have provided some pain relief from problems such as toothache and arthritis.
7. Gin Was Given to Sailors to Boost Morale
The practice of giving sailors cases of gin for their voyages was very common in the 17th century. It was infused with lime juice to help prevent scurvy on long voyages; it could also settle the stomach if angostura was added.
8. It was Tested by Gunpowder
Now, we would like to talk about one of the things that most people surely didn’t have a clue about. The UK’s naval officers have invented a pretty good method for testing the quality of their Gin. With gunpowder. They would sip some of it onto it and take a look at how fast it would lit after that. Surely, this is one of the lesser-known facts about this beautiful drink.
9. Who Drinks it the Most?
Even though the beverage itself was invented in the Netherlands, and the UK is often credited as a country where its modern version was established, these two countries are not the biggest consummators. The Philippines is the country where this drink is consumed the most, per capita, of course.
10. It is Almost a Vodka
Surely, we are talking about a beverage that has a lot of flavours, it needs to be said that we are talking about a neutral one. What this means, you ask? Well, it means that this drink is a practical, Vodka. Naturally, the taste was manipulated with some other flavours and aromas that had their influence in creating a drink that we all know and love these days.
11. More than 40 Cocktails Use It
The number of different cocktails that require this one to be a part of them is truly exceptional. It needs to be said that this number can go over 40. Some cocktails can be made with it, but they don’t have to. Therefore, we can there are around 40 of them who have it as a crucial ingredient. One of the most interesting things you need to know about these is that practically all of them have been created in the UK.
Finally, did you know that gin is remarkably easy to make at home? All you need is a bottle of vodka and some juniper berries. You should try to make it in your own home. We are absolutely sure that you will have a blast in the process of making it. Add some extra spices and you have your very own flavoured gin!