Stash the heavy liquor back into the cabinet and make way for a drink with the spirit of late spring and early summer. Whether you serve it with Negroni or combine it with a refreshing tonic, gin is the universal basis on which you can create all sorts of flavors to suit your fancy. This juniper liquor is excellent for warmer months, but have you ever wondered how did it garner such a reputation in the first place? If yes, here is a crash course with fun gin facts to shed more light on this classic drink…

Land of origin

Although most people know it as England’s national drink, gin actually originated in the Netherlands. During the War of Independence in the 17th century, English sailors stumbled upon genever in between combat with the Dutch and decided to bring the spirit back with them. It was only after 150 years that they refined it and created what we know today as London-style gin.

Who is the godfather?

image of Franciscus Sylvius, founder of gin.

Sylvius gin

Franciscus Sylvius, a Dutch medical physician, developed genever back in the 16th century. It served as medication, believing that it can pacify circulatory diseases and other ailments. When soldiers got their hands on the spirit, they referred to it as “Dutch Courage” to help their morale during the war.

When was it mixed with tonic?

After the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857, colonial Britons began massively to move to India in search of exotic excitement. This is when the popularity of “Indian tonic water” spiked, because everyone thought that it can curb malaria outbreaks. To soothe the bitter taste of tonic, gin was added, thus creating one of most renowned cocktails to date.

Gimlet – a drink to battle scurvy

Sailing the open seas is nothing close to a vacation. Deficiency of Vitamin C was common for sailors and this fact has got the Royal Navy in an uproar. As a mean of prevention, gin was mixed with lime juice. This drink became known as Gimlet, and it was decades later that soda was added to the concoction to kill off the “piercing” flavor.

What is “Mother’s Ruin”?

Contrary to “Dutch Courage”, “Mother’s Ruin” has some sinister overtones, doesn’t it? The reason behind the darker moniker is because gin was inexpensive and whorehouses used it to induce abortions.

What is “Bathtub Gin”?

Moonshine holds the crown when it comes to illegal imbibing during prohibition, but it was not the only drink to be made outside the confines of the law. Gin is essentially easy to create, so it was often made in bathtubs. Just mix cheap grain alcohol with juniper berry juice and distill it in a tub, and you will get yourself a spirit which unfortunately led to many illnesses and deaths throughout history.

Who drinks gin the most?

Pouring transparent alcoholic drink from bottle into a glass on the background of bar counter

All things considering, you’ll probably guess that it’s the British or the Dutch who make up most of the gin market, but you’ll be surprised to know that it’s the Philippines who take the lead. There is even a word in central Luzon of the Philippine islands for a game of gin-drinking – “Ginuman.”

You don’t drink gin neat

It is not gentle on the palate at all. It might grow hair on your chest, but it is definitely not worth stressing your throat. The strong taste is the main reason why so many ingredients are combined with the original recipe, and thus why so many gin-based cocktails exist across the globe.

Ever heard of gin twist?

Gin twist was the king of cocktails back in the 1920s. Multiple periodicals and novels of that time mentioned the craze behind the cocktail, which consisted of gin, simple syrup, lemon juice, and hot water.

You can make by yourself

Anyone can make it because gin is essentially vodka infused with juniper berries and spices for unique flavor. It is easy to make, just leave the bathtub out of the equation, ok?