Here at Drinks in Tube we love gin and it’s rich and interesting past. We thought we’d give you gin enthusiasts a timeline of ‘Ginstories’…
During the Dutch War of Independence, soldiers were drinking Genever (Dutch gin) for its calming effects before battle. This is where the term Dutch Courage originated from.
King William of Orange, who was a gin enthusiast himself, dropped the taxation and licensing charges on distillation. He also raised the charges on imported spirits to make more money and encourage more local trade.
The start of what is known as the London Frost Fairs. Whenever the weather turned cold people would gather to drink hot gin and eat gingerbread.
As the consumption of alcohol began to rise, the government took actions to curb the use of gin by raising the price of a distilling licence up to £50. Many people could not afford to pay this, which pushed the industry underground. This in turn prompted the creation of the first vending machine (the Puss and Mew machine), as it was one of the only ways people could illegaly purchase alcohol. Consumers would approach the cat shaped machine and whisper “puss”. If the seller behind the machine had gin to give, the cat would say, “mew”. The buyer would then put the money in the stone cat’s mouth and receive a small bottle of gin in return.
When the English took over India, British immigrants began to suffer with malaria. They used a local cure from a cinchona tree which produced the bitter quinine taste. To make it more palatable they introduced sugar, lime, ice and most importantly, gin, resulting in the creation of the classic G&T.
Ian Flemming, the author of the iconic James Bond books, took a trip to Jamaica where he created his own gin martini. He included this cocktail in his books known as The Vesper.