World Gin Day is on Saturday 10th June 2023, so we thought we’d take a light-hearted look at some fun facts about the drink we all love, Gin.
Gin doesn’t have a shelf life
That old bottle of gin that you forgot about might lose some flavour or some alcoholic strength, but it never goes out of date. But who are these people who are leaving or forgetting about gin…!
Gin won’t freeze
Because of its high alcoholic volume, put it in the freezer and it won’t freeze. But if you’re drinking it neat, it will go really nice and cold and become even tastier.
Gin is healthy
Because gin is made from juniper berries, which are actually known as a super fruit, it is surprisingly healthy. Don’t go starting a ‘gin diet’ on this basis though!
Gin can help you lose weight
According to a study at a university in Latvia, scientists claimed that drinking gin and tonic every day helps you lose weight! Again, not that we’re condoning a gin diet.
Gin was invented by…
The invention of Gin is credited to physician, Franciscus Sylvius, who is said to have used it for medicinal purposes in the 16th century. However, gin’s roots can be traced back much further in history – as far back as 11th southern Italy – so it’s actual origins are not proven.
Pink Gin was invented in the 19th century
It is considered that Henry Workshop and Captain Jack Bristow concocted the first ever pink gin aboard the HMS Hercules sailing to the Caribbean. Undoubtably different to the Pink Gin and Lemonade we love so much these days though.
Gin was a hangover cure
In 1920s New York, gin was served with tomato juice as a hangover cure – before the creation of the famous vodka-based Bloody Mary.
Gin was sold in pharmacies
As gin was originally for medicinal purposes, it was once upon a time sold in pharmacies to cure a range of issues.
Apparently, the royal family used to use a drop of gin on a cotton pad to clean their silverware. We personally prefer not to waste gin and use proper cleaning products.
Gin used to be rationed to naval sailors. It was drank with lemons – for a source of Vitamin C – for medicinal reasons, most notably to stop scurvy. They also used to test the quality, and strength, of their gin by mixing it with gunpowder to see how well it lit. I’m sure it was fun, but what a waste.
Which country drinks the most gin?
Per capita, people in the Philippines drink more gin than any other country in the world.
We do drink our fair share though in the UK though. According to The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), around 48 millions bottles of traditional predominately juniper tasting gin worth £716 million were sold in the 12 months to the beginning of October 2020. A 10% increase on the previous year. 27 million bottles of flavoured gin, worth £456 million, were sold in the same period, which is up a massive 31% on the period before.
Juniper Berries are not actually berries
They’re actually just fleshy cones of female junipers that have an appearance very similar to berries
The Gin Riots
It’s quite hard to believe that people rioted in 1736 over gin. When the Gin Act of 1736 was introduced to stop people drinking too much, a gin licence was introduced. Apparently, only two Gin Licences were ever purchased and instead people protested in the form of riots.
We almost lost gin altogether
Juniper plants were under threat of becoming extinct in 2015 as a deadly fungal disease almost killed them off completely. Thank goodness it didn’t… we can’t imagine what the world would have been like without gin!
Gin was first called gin in 1714
You’d have thought the name gin would have been around much longer but it was in a book called The Fable of the Bees, written by Bernard Mandeville, when the name was first used. It read:
“The infamous liquor, the name of which derived from Juniper-Berries in Dutch, is now, by frequent use… shrunk into a Monosyllable, intoxicating Gin.”
A Glass Act from Spain
We have the Spanish to thank for the lovely balloon or couple glasses that we drink our gins out of today. They were serving their gins with ice and fruit garnishes to suit the gin in a large ballooned glass that allowed the aromas to gather, and also to make it easier to drink.
Martinis are made with Gin
Many people prefer vodka in cocktails over gin, but the original Martini consisted of gin, vermouth and garnish – not vodka. James Bond’s Vesper cocktail in Casino Royale actually had both:
“Three measures of Gordon’s; one of vodka; half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it over ice, and add a thin slice of lemon peel.”
As the saying goes
There are some notable sayings that have originated from Gin.
‘Dutch Courage’ has been credited to the soldiers fighting in the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the 17th century. Some say it was the English soldiers who drank gin before battle to calm their nerves and to warm them up in the cold weather. Others say it was gin that gave the Dutch soldiers more bravery.
‘Mother’s Ruin’ got the nickname for gin following more women becoming hooked on gin between in the 18th century. This led to the mistreatment of their children and a rise in prostitution.
What came first, the gin or the tonic?
Gin was actually added to tonic, not tonic added to the gin. Indian Tonic Water, served with quinine, was consumed in India in a bid to avoid Malaria. As it was quite bitter, gin was added to improve its taste.
So, there’s just a few facts about gin. Some of these might be urban myths, hearsay and we’re sure there’s many, many more… Just like our beloved gin, it’s just for your enjoyment so make sure you enjoy the gin and these ‘facts’ responsibly.
When you’re next at the Bank House – either staying the night or visiting for food, golf or spa – make sure you check out our extensive gin list. Perfect to enjoy in the un on our terrace and garden area.