Gin through the ages. The history of the nation's favourite beverage.
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Gin has become an increasingly popular drink over the last few years, with World Gin day, launched in 2009, being assigned to the second Saturday in June. A Gin and Tonic, or G&T, is now viewed as an elegant and sophisticated drink, with ever more Gin memes or Gin related products popping up all over the place. However, Gin wasn’t always the drink of sophistication but instead has a rather varied past. From ‘Dutch courage’ to ‘Mothers’ ruin’, the now fashionable drink has been associated with a variety of reputations and usages throughout seven-hundred-year history. Below we explore the history of Gin, from medicinal liquor, disreputable beverage, to the current flavour of the month. Originating in Western Europe, Gin is a liquor which is primarily flavoured by Juniper Berries. The earliest recorded usage of Gin comes from an encyclopaedia written in Bruges during the 13thcentury, Der Naturen Bloeme. It was initially used for medicinal purposes in order to treat kidney or stomach ailments. The creation of Gin has been incorrectly attributed to Dutch scientist, Franciscus Sylvius in the 1600s, however, evidence suggests that Gin was being used during Sylvius’s childhood. It is also claimed that, during the Eighty years’ war between Holland and Spain, the consumption of Gin was popular among the English soldiers stationed in the Netherlands in order to support the Dutch in their fight for independence. It is allegedly here that the widely popularised term ‘Dutch Courage’ is claimed to have originated, due to the relaxing effects which soldiers experience after consuming Gin.
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