It is funny how one different type of alcohol, can cause such great discussion at the event team for the Big Big Gin Festival. Gin. Do you drink it with the classic tonic? The much sweeter lemonade? Or with the spicier ginger beer? Cranberry juice maybe?
And what is your favourite brand? Edinburgh Gin, Gordon’s, Tanquaray, et cetera, et cetera…
We all try to be an expert in the matter. Because, of course, everyone is. But we found out that our knowledge of gin doesn’t go any further than that. We all have a lack of general knowledge in the case. We know we like to drink it, but… that’s it. So, we thought it was time to polish up our knowledge and sound like a real gin pro while drinking it. Here are some interesting facts that will make you sound like a pro next time your drinking gin:
- Gin is the original Dutch courage
Before the 17th century, no Brit had ever heard about the spirit. It was the Dutch doctor Franciscus de le Boë Sylvius who used Gin (or Jenever as the Dutch call it) as a medicine against stomach complaints and gal stones. A medicine that a lot of men at sea could use. And when the British and the Dutch sailors met, the Brits discovered this amazing drink that would ease the pain. And yeah, it would make you incredible drunk. The term “Dutch courage” was invented at this time. Just drink some gin and you’ll have enough courage to take the pretty lady home with you.
- Feeling sick? Just drink some gin!
Like we said before, gin started out as a medicine. But not just in The Netherlands. The Gin & Tonic is created in India because of health reasons. They thought that tonic water would help against malaria. Gin was added to soothe the bitterness of the tonic.
But not just the G&T was helpful against diseases. In order to prevent scurvy, Lime juice was added to the gin of sailors. And then, the Gimlet was officially born!
- Don’t be tough, gin is not made to drink neat
The reason why gin is so popular, is because it’s easy to make and good to mix. During prohibition years people would make gin in their bathtubs. And no, that wasn’t a good thing. Because there where no regulations to consider, the gins where often not suited to drink. Causing illness and even death.
When you where desperate for a strong drink, gin would be mixed to sooth the incredible fire of the alcohol. The one good thing that came out of this is the creativity of the many, many, many different cocktails we have now.
- One of the reasons it’s so popular now is because of an epic legal win
For a long time, it was near impossible for gin companies to produce small quantities because of restrictions from the HMRC. But thankfully it all changed in 2009 when a gin distillery called Sipsmith won a historic two-year battle with the HMRC. This resulted in distilleries having the legal right to produce and sell gin in small amounts.
This, and the always present popularity of gin in pop culture makes gin so popular. On top of that, gin is incredibly versatile and makes it a drink for everyone. You can find a gin mixture on almost every (bar) menu in the country.
Time to drink some gin!
So, now you can say you know more about gin then just what your favourite mixer is. But of course, the most important thing to know about gin is that it’s a delicious beverage, and you decide yourself how, when or where to drink it.
Talking about drinking gin, don’t forget to buy tickets for our Big Big Gin festival in Edinburgh on the 26th and 27th of April! For just £ 15 you will get your own exclusive Big Big Gin Festival glass, access to the Meet the Maker zone where you can try free samples and enjoy your first Gin & Tonic on the house! Get your tickets here.
See you there!