We've taken a look at the History of Gin - it has to be brief as the history of gin is long, colourful and not always pleasant as it tastes!
Like many of Britain's national favourites, gin did not originate from our shores. In fact, if you don't count the Italian monks who are thought to have used juniper berries as flavourings in distilled spirits back in the 11th Century, it's Holland that is credited as the birthplace of gin.
The English first got their hands on the spirit while over there fighting against the Spanish in the Thirty Years’ War, using it to calm their nerves before a battle. Yes, that’s right, gin is the original ‘Dutch Courage’!
The soldiers took their newly found favourite spirit home with them and we've never looked back.
The first known written use of the word ‘gin’ appears in a 1714 book called ‘The Fable of the Bees, or Private Vices, Publick Benefits’ by Bernard Mandeville. “He wrote: ‘The infamous liquor, the name of which deriv’d from Juniper-Berries in Dutch, is now, by frequent use… shrunk to the name Gin" It was originally known as Genever but we derived from this that the British were too drunk to pronounce genever so they abbreviated the word to ‘gen'!
As more women became hooked on gin between 1720 and 1757, this led to the mistreatment of their children and a rise in prostitution – gaining the spirit the nickname 'Mother's Ruin'!
With gin at the top of its game now, we no longer need any Dutch Courage or be a Ruined Mother to enjoy our favourite tipple!
We have chosen three local distilleries which are worth trying:
6 O'Clock Gin - a family distillery based in Bristol. The name was inspired by their long-held family tradition of indulging in a G&T at 6 o’clock; a custom still enjoyed at their distillery!
Cotwolds Gin - established in 2014 and the first full scale distillery based here in The Cotswolds. Their gin is copper-pot distilled using carefully selected botanicals.
Foxdenton Estate Gin - three generations of the same family run this distillery based in the Home Counties specialising in fruit gin liqueurs and London dry gin. Based on traditional recipes using British fruit.
& don't forget, whatever gin your prefer its best enjoyed served in your favourite, shapely gin glass !