Gin!! It's that essential ingredient for a Negroni, lip smackingly refreshing with tonic water and the slightly fiery partner in crime with vermouth in a martini. Best known as the main ingredient in many famous cocktails, but what else do you really know about it?
Although gin these days is popular the world over, it actually originated in Holland. The Dutch physician Franciscus Sylvius created genever as a medicine to improve circulation and other ailments. British troops discovered genever while fighting the Dutch war of independence in the 1700s and brought it back with them.
Back in the olden times disease was rife and the Royal Navy had little in the way of medication when sailing the open seas. The threat of death was real constantly and they often had to find their own ways to cure ailments. Scurvy at the time was a prominent threat due to the lack of vitamin C and sailors started mixing gin with lime juice to prevent this. Nowadays this gin mix is known as the Gimlet – thanks Royal Navy!
If you thought the British drank the most gin, you’re wrong! Surprisingly the gin diehards are Filipinos who reportedly take up to around 43% of the global gin market! A popular gin cocktail in the Philippines is the Gin Pom, which is – gin, water and powdered pomelo juice.
Before Netflix and nights out at the local cinema, public executions were a popular form of entertainment in England in the 1700s. Warmed up gin and spicy gingerbread was a classic snack-combo while watching a poor soul take his last breath, basically like us having a beer and a pack of nuts today!
Back in the 1850s gin was a little harder to come by and Australian settlers imported Gordon’s into Melbourne and paid for it with gold dust! The Settlers Gin distillery was still a little way away from opening and importation was the only option. The recipe remains unchanged today, meaning you can taste exactly what the settlers did all that time ago.
Most spirits have always been ok to enjoy alone with a few cubes of ice, but when gin was first made it wasn’t the most soothing on the throat. Originally brewed in bathtubs it certainly put hairs on your chest during prohibition times. As time progressed, it was mixed with other ingredients to get the fiery taste down and thus why it’s so popular today in many classic cocktails today.
Thankfully nowadays, we don’t have to drink throat burning bathtub gin and risk getting all manner of diseases through unsanitary processes, we can enjoy a range of delicious craft gin for any occasion. The Settler’s pomegranate gin is a pink gin and my favourite mixed with refreshing tonic water – give it a try!