WHAT THE HECK IS GIN?
We define GIN. as the point where juniper, fun and magic all intersect.
Gin is defined as a juniper flavoured spirit. Some say it must be grain-based spirit, be 40% or above or be any other number of things that miss the spirit of all spirits. At the heart of gin is juniper, as long as you follow these rules, you have gin.
Gin began as genever in The Netherlands in the middle ages, a spirit originally purposed for medical use, thought to cure ailments like gout and indigestion. Consumed in large quantities it would mask these symptoms indeed. It was said to cure cowardice too, the term ‘Dutch Courage’ is derived from this early form of gin, consumed by British soldiers fighting on Dutch soil.
British soldiers bought gin back home where it swept the nation. Some people estimate that in 1720 25% of households were producing their own gin. ‘The Gin Craze’ had begun, so much so that the government had to bring in rules and regulations to try and reign back in the sloppy Brits.
The British soldiers are again to thank. The Quinine rations given to soldiers to help ward off malaria were horrible and bitter to stomach alone. Mixed with the gin ration they received it was a delicious solution to the problem and what we can credit as the creation of the Gin & Tonic.
All that history about gin is fine, but they were producing some pretty horrible and fairly deadly gin. Not realising that different alcohols boil at different temperatures. For instance, Methanol boils much lower and is the first type of alcohol produced when distilling, we now know to throw this out, but back then it was all kept and made a deadly and far less delicious gin.
We now know much more about gin, we only keep the best parts of the distillation and use incredibly delicious and interesting botanicals. We are also starting to divert away from the classic ‘London Dry’ style and looking at pushing the boundaries of what gin can be.