The Gin History
Dr FRANCISCUS SYLVIUS DE LA BOË
At the university town of Leiden created a juniper and spice-flavored medicinal spirit that he promoted as a diuretic, although claims have been made that it was produced prior to this by monks in Italy.
Genever (the Dutch word for Juniper) soon found favor across the English Channel; first as a medicine and then as a beverage.
British troops fighting in the Low Countries during the Thirty Years’
War were given ‘Dutch Courage’ during the long campaigns in the damp weather through the warming properties of gin. Eventually they started bringing it back home with them, where already it was sold in some chemists’ shops.
WILLIAM OF ORANGE
King William III, better known as William of Orange, came to the English throne and made a series of statues actively encouraging the distillation of English spirits. Sometimes gin was distributed to workers as part of their wages and soon the volume sold daily exceeded that of beer and ale, which was more expensive.
Madame Genever moves to Gin Lane: Hogarth’s famous illustration was one of a pair funded by the brewing industry to illustrate that beer consumption was far healthier for individuals and for society as a whole than drinking gin.
A MAN CALLED SCHWEPPE
Jean Jacob Schweppe first brought carbonated water to market.
This ingredient went on to revolutionize long drinks. Ironically, he saw his invention purely as a medicinal aid and developed five different levels of carbonation to be prescribed by doctors for various digestive ailments.
The earliest-known use of the word “cocktail” in print appeared on 20 March 1798.
Presumably it took its name from a pair of remedies given to horses of mixed breed, whose tails were cut short or “cocked” to mark them as such.
THE GIN AND TONIC
Created as an anti-malarial for British troops serving in India, it proved such as success that no one takes a chance today, even in areas where there has never been a case of malaria. Better to have a G&T, just to be safe.
No one knows for certain the exact origin of the Martini.
Jerry Thomas, bartender at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, prints a bartending manual with a recipe for a ‘Martinez’, a few years later John D.
Rockefeller helps popularize the drink served to him by Signor Martini di Arma di Taggia, head barman at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York. In any case, this simple gin drink was among the first created and consumed purely for pleasure, with the anesthetic effect that clearly demarked the end of the workday and the beginning of the evening’s revelries.
Those who wish to imbibe must go underground in the U.S. The Martini gains popularity due to easy access to gin, which does not need to be aged like whisky. Thirsty Americans, and out-of-work American bartenders descend on London at the start of Prohibition in the United States. These new arrivals ensured no Jazz Age London party was short of attendees.
‘SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED’
James Bond first ordered a drink to be shaken in Fleming’s novel Casino Royale, when he requested a drink which would later be referred to as a “Vesper”, named after the Bond girl, Vesper Lynd. Fleming and his friend Ivor Bryce created this variation of the Martini Cocktail in Jamaica.
Fleming’s books and this cocktail defined sophistication for generations to come.
Dick Bradsell begins training a generation of young bartenders after reading David Embury’s The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks and becoming inspired to master the art of mixing himself. This revived the nightclub cocktail, transforming it from spirit drowned in tonic or fruit juice to elegant and simple creations.
Interest in gin has exploded over the last decade with independent producers flourishing all over the world and more emphasis on artisanal methods among the big distillers.