Interesting Gin Facts

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Interesting Gin Facts

Interesting Gin Facts for Bartenders

Gin is derived from the juniper berry. It has been a notable spirit since the Middle Ages when it was initially used to ward off the Black Plague of Europe. These days, it works much better as a refreshment, particularly in a gin and tonic or Singapore Sling. In fact, it is one of the world’s best-loved spirits. Here are some interesting gin facts that all bartenders should know.

The Early Years

Experiments with the medicinal properties of the juniper berry first emerged in Italy in the 12th century. Then, it was thought to treat the symptoms associated with the Black Plague. It was first enjoyed as gin through the efforts of Dutch doctor, Franciscus Sylvius, in the 17th century. Not only was it used as a refreshing and uplifting herbal drink, but it was also believed to treat gall stones, kidney ailments, lumbago and gout.

Gin attained notoriety in the 18th in London – viewed internationally as the “home” of gin as we know it today. The English government at the time sought to make gin easily available to the public in an attempt to boost the local liquor market and the price of grain. This resulted in a skyrocketing consumption of gin across the city – eventually leading to a host of social problems, like theft, prostitution, alcoholism and murder. The “evils” of gin were immortalised in Hogarth’s disturbing prints, of which “Gin Lane” is the most famous. Leaders then sought to clamp down on gin distribution, which led to the Gin Riots of the 18th century.

Legal Categories of Gin

Wacholder and Genebra retain some characteristics of the earliest forms of gin. These are juniper-flavoured beverages that have been redistilled with botanical ingredients for their aromatic properties. The second type is simply classified as “Gin.” This, according to law, does not need to be redistilled with botanicals, and simply derives its flavours from flavouring agents.

Distilled Gin is the third type of legal category. Here, the process entails the distillation of ethyl alcohol with natural botanicals for flavour. The fourth type is known as London Dry Gin. It is redistilled in the same manner as distilled gin, but must not include more than 0.1g of sugar per litre – hence its categorisation as “dry gin.”

Notable Brands

As a bartender, you’ll encounter all kinds of gin brands. Here are some of the most renowned. Bombay Sapphire, for instance, is a popular English gin brand that refers to the role of gin during the the British Raj in India. It is made from 10 ingredients including almond, lemon peel, liquorice, grains of paradise, juniper berry, orris root, coriander, cassia and cubeb. It is a light, floral gin with gentler flavours than its dry counterparts.

Gordon’s London Dry Gin has been the UK’s Number Once brand of gin since the late 19th century. Manufacturers claim that the recipe is only known by twelve people and has been a well-kept secret for over 250 years. Another Scottish brand is Tanqueray, first made in the 1830s. The recipe for this London Dry Gin is also a well-guarded secret.

Bartending is all about mixing the perfect gin cocktail. Martinis, Tom Collins’, Singapore Slings and Fizzes are all reliant on top-quality gin. Brush up on some basic gin facts, and get the knowledge to match your cocktail-making skills.