16 things you (probably) didn’t know about gin

Let’s hear it for the joy and happiness that is a gin and tonic!
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  • Gin has been the nation's favourite drink for a while now, but do you know much about "mother's ruin"? Check out these 16 things you (probably) didn't know about gin.

    The UK’s love affair with gin hit an all-time high in 2019 with sales reaching over £2billion. The on-going interest, dubbed the “ginaissance”, means more and more of us are picking up this juniper infused spirit for a tipple. And there’s plenty of reasons why…

    1. Gin actually wasn’t created in England

    Although there’s nothing more English than a G&T, it originally comes from Holland. We came across it while fighting the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century. The Dutch soldiers were drinking ‘Jenever’, a medicinal drink to boost morale before heading into battle. That’s also where the term ‘Dutch Courage’ comes from.

    2. Always drink it with a mixer

    Gin should never be drunk on it’s own. It’s made to be mixed with tonic, or into fancier cocktails such as Tom Collins, Negroni, Gimlet – and of course the Martini. In fact, there are more gin-based cocktails than any other spirit.

    3. There’s a day to celebrate it

    It’s World Gin Dayn on 8th June 2020, a day to get together and celebrate the joys of our favourite tipple!

    4. Or make it into a Martini

    A martini consists of gin, dry vermouth and optional bitters. James Bond made it the must-have cocktail, though he favoured vodka martinis, shaken not stirred of course!

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    Credit: Alarmy

    5. It was used in the Royal Navy

    Back in the day, the Royal Navy gave their men gin mixed with lime cordial to stop scurvy (hence the term for Brits as limey’s).

    6. Gin was used to make tonic water taste better

    In Victorian times, quinine was given to troops in India as an anti-malarial medicine. Despite being made into a tonic water it still tasted vile so, to mask the flavour, soldiers added a tot of gin – and the G&T was born.

    7. There are lots of flavours

    Gin is more or less juniper-flavoured vodka, though some have lots of other flavourings too, including cucumber, rose, lemongrass and even pepper.

    8. It’s one of our favourite drinks

    Gin is very popular. A whopping 60 million cases of gin are sold every year – and half of that is knocked back in the Philippines. They drink 22 million cases of Ginebra San Miguel, a drink more or less unknown in the rest of the world.

    Credit: Ginebra San Miguel

    9. It was paid for in gold

    Early Australian settlers paid for their imported Gordon’s London Dry Gin in gold dust.

    10. It doesn’t actually make you depressed

    Well, no more than any other sort of spirit.

    11. Gin has a high alcohol strength

    The minimum alcoholic strength by volume of gin is 37.5%…but many are a lot higher!

    12. It’s a royal favourite

    The Queen Mother loved her pre-lunch glass of gin and Dubonnet.

    13. And a Hollywood one too

    Frank Sinatra liked gin. And if it was good enough for Ol’ Blue Eyes, well..

    Credit: Getty

    14. The best is cheap and cheerful

    At the other end of scale, at the recent International Spirits Challenge, Asda’s London Dry Gin (£11.22 /70cl) and Waitrose London Dry Gin (£12/70cl) both came out on top with gold awards, while Aldi’s London Dry Gin, at a mere £9.99 for 70cl, won a silver award. Why pay more?

    15. Or it can be really pricey

    At around £450 for a 750ml bottle, the world’s most expensive gin is Notlet’s Reserve. This 52.3% alcohol gin is 104.6 proof.

    16. Serve it with lime, not lemon

    Gin with a slice – but why is it lime, not lemon? It used to be lemon, until Gordon’s were putting together a marketing campaign and thought the yellow lemon clashed with its green bottle.