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Friday, 3 April 2015


Franciscus Sylvius, a professor of medicine at the University of Leiden in Holland  distilled the juniper berry with grain. The result was a very reasonably priced medicine for kidney ailments.

The medicine was ridiculously cheap to make, requiring only grain, water, and readily available herbs.

By the late 1660s, the juniper medicine was becoming popular as a beverage and had been introduced to England by soldiers returning from the Low Countries.

Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary that he took ‘strong water made of juniper’ as a cure for constipation.

The Dutch for a juniper shrub is “jenever” and the English shortened and mispronounced it to gin.

After the Dutch Protestant king William III accepted the crown of England as joint sovereign with his wife Mary in 1689, sales of gin soared. William heavily taxed French brandy, as he identified it as a Roman Catholic drink and encouraged the drinking of gin, the patriotic tipple of Protestants.

By 1720, 2.5 million gallons of gin were produced annually in London. the quantity consumed each year by Londoners quadrupled between 1720 and 1730, and almost doubled again in the following decade. which saw consumption average ten liters of gin per person per year.

There were 6,287 places to buy gin in London in 1726. That’s twice as many as coffee shops today.

The Gin Act was passed in 1736 in the UK to curb dangerous levels of consumption of 'Mother's Ruin' by taxing it. On the day before the act was passed, mobs took to the streets to drink as much gin as they could lay their hands on.    

Alexander Gordon opened his distillery in Southwark, London and began making Gordon’s Gin in 1769. The quest for better quality was a reaction to the Gin Craze of early 18th- century London where very rough gin was consumed,

The Black Friars Distillery, which opened in 1793, is the oldest gin distillery in the world.

Early Australian settlers paid for imported gin with gold dust.

Gin and tonic was used to prevent and treat malaria in the 1800s. Tonic containing the anti-malarial drug quinine was very bitter, so gin was added to make it tasty.

Its popularity soared during the Prohibition era in the US, due to the ease of making ‘Bathtub gin’.

The Philippines is the largest gin market, accounting for some 43% of the world's gin consumption. San Miguel is by far the largest brand with 62% of the Philippine market.

Gin is only gin if the predominant taste is juniper (juniper berries are the only spice derived from conifers).

It’s the quinine in gin and tonics that makes them glow in ultra-violet light.

Source Mail On Sunday

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