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We've been doing some research into the deep & often uncovered history of Gin with #WorldGinDay coming up on the 10th of June & we came across some facts that we'd not heard of & they were too good to not share!
1. Gin is English
Genever - As in the Spirit, was essentially a light malted whisky with juniper berry. Distillate of the Netherlands. Gin was developed in London and is a much purer & unique Spirit due to it's flavour profiles. Genever, as in the word, is a Dutch word for Juniper Berry (main & legally required ingredient in Gin) which may be where the assumption that Gin came from the Netherlands - along with the phrase 'Dutch courage'.
2. Gin was born in the 1600's.
The earliest known food pairing occurred in the 1700's - Gin & Ginger bread! It was common at the 'London frost fairs' that took place along the Thames - the Gin was served hot with a slab of gingerbread and it warmed visitors up at the markets so that they'd end up staying longer & spending more brass! (might have to do this at our next pop up!)
3. Nearly all juniper used in Gin is picked wild.
Almost none of it is cultivated!
4. The best way to taste Gins for comparison is at room temperature, diluted with an equal measure of room temp water!
This reveals the qualities & flaws. Only when you've found the perfect botanical base should you then introduce guest botanicals to add flavour and after that its the best time for tonic, ice, pink grapefruit & rosemary (for the perfect Little Red Berry London Dry serve!)
5. Gin's primary flavour is Juniper berry!
It's actually a legal requirement to add juniper to all Gin
6. Juniper berry isn't actually a berry.
It's a modified conifer-cone (female seed cone) which is super evolved with fleshy merged scales that give a rounded & smooth appearance of a berry!
7. Juniper is medicinal
It has been used for centuries as a medicine (urinary antiseptic and diuretic). It was also used during the plague in doctors masks as they believed the plague was caused by bad odors & it was believed that juniper purified the air. They weren't too wrong as we know that the cause of the bad smells was in-fact bacteria & juniper is antibacterial so it would have helped to an extent - also fleas were the cause of the spread and juniper makes a great flea repellent!
8. London Dry Gin doesn't need to be made in London
A common misconception - we get this a lot as we're a Yorkshire brand with our Yorkshire range of Gins & yet we have a London Dry! London Dry refers to the method of Gin production - there are strict guidelines as to what this Gin is which to sum up quickly - It has to be distilled to at least 96% abv, it has to have all natural botanicals & these are added DURING the production process - never after, it must be juniper forward & nothing but water and a small amount of sweetner can be added post production to bring the ABV down (minimum requirement is 37.5% abv)
9. The Gin act of 1736 still lives on
In this year an annual fee of £50 was imposed (equivalent to about £30,000) on distillers of base Spirits & the same again on Gin rectifiers. Due to this London Gin distillers bought their base Spirits rather than producing it themselves to avoid fees - this still remains true to this day.
10. The first Gin and Tonic came from around the 1800's
British colonies had to take daily doses of tonic water, as it contains quinine, this warded off mosquitoes & prevented malaria. However the bitterness of the quinine was so unpalatable that they'd add Gin to make the drink taste better - hence the first G&T being born! - Another interesting fact is that we use the term 'ABV' in the UK (alcohol by volume percentage) whereas Americans use the term 'proof' this goes back to the British colonies back in 1600's who would apply Spirit's to their gunpowder to see if it still fired as they didn't want to risk, while on board at sea, the Spirits getting onto their gunpowder/ weapons and making them dud like water would - hence the term ''proof''
There you have it! The more you know! If you made it through all these facts by'eck you must be thirsty! Perhaps a tipple of our award-winning London Dry may take your fancy - be sure to check out our perfect serves & cocktail ideas on the 'ow to sup it' section,
Have a great World Gin Day This weekend!
Bee & The Berry Team