It seems to be a recent trend for pretty much everything to have a national day, an international week, or a global month. Some are incredibly worthwhile in raising valuable awareness for good causes and interests. Then there’s some that might just be a bit of an excuse… But whether you’re a gin lover or not, few people need much of an excuse to have a tipple of the ever popular cocktail that is a Gin & Tonic.
So, we thought we’d take a look back at the history of what is undoubtably Britain’s favourite drink on its day in the spotlight, International Gin and Tonic Day.
The history of gin is quite a fascinating one. Like many alcoholic beverages, gin was originally used for medicinal purposes in the Middle Ages. Its origins, however, have never been completely proven.
Jenever, the flower that is used to make gin, was first noted for its use as a drink in 16th century Antwerp. It is also claimed that British soldiers were drinking Jenever during the Anglo-Dutch Wars.
The term ‘Dutch Courage’ came from this period. Gin was known for its calming benefits and British soldiers were thought to be drinking it before battle. However, some believe the term was actually referring to those Dutch soldiers who deemed to benefit from the bravery-inducing effects of Jenever.
But seen as it’s International Gin and Tonic Day, when was the cocktail Gin & Tonic invented?
Again, Gin & Tonic has a medicinal background and we have the armed forces to thank. This modern-day classic was created by the army of the British East India Company in India in the early 19th century.
Malaria was a big problem in India at the time and a medicine called Quinine was used as a cure. Quinine was taken mixed with tonic water, but it was very bitter and unpleasant to drink. The officers added a mixture of water, sugar, lime and, most importantly, gin to the Quinine to help make it more palatable. Just like that, Gin & Tonic was officially born.
The way we drink it now, with ice, garnish and in a balloon glass is actually thanks to the Spanish. And this might even have paved the way for the ever-growing trend for fruit gins and accompanying mixers.
With the huge recent growth in popularity, there has been a surge in the production of new gins. Many of these are fruit-flavoured gins, which has opened up a whole new exciting world of the Gin & Tonic. New tonic waters, mixers and complimentary additions means the selections are almost endless. The craze shows no sign of letting up, which just means even more variations of Gin & Tonics are on the horizon.
At the Bank House Hotel, we serve a range of local and national gins… see how many you can try on your next visit to our Worcestershire hotel.