It's International Gin and Tonic Day: 12 things you didn’t know about the spirit
By Sam Wylie-Harris. Published 2020-10-19BOLD-Food
TheBoldAge explores: Even gin lovers will find these facts surprising
- Due to the rapid rise in gin’s popularity in recent years, London alone now has more distilleries than the whole of England did in 2010.
- The word ‘gin’ comes from the Dutch word ‘Jenever’ which in turn comes from the Latin, Juniperus, meaning juniper – the key botanical in gin.
- Gin has to be a minimum of 37.5% abv in the UK and Ireland (in the US it’s 40%). If it’s less than that, you can’t call it gin. Some ‘gin liqueurs’, which people assume are flavoured gin, are in fact not authentic gin.
- Juniper berries aren’t actually a berry, they are a seed cone, hence the piney flavour.
- The gin and tonic was born from British officers stationed in India mixing their quinine medicine, which treated malaria, with water, sugar and gin to make its bitter flavour more palatable.
- Tonic water glows under UV rays!
- It’s estimated that in 1743, the equivalent of roughly two pints of gin per person was consumed every week in London.
- The term ‘London Dry Gin’ doesn’t actually refer to gin made in London. It’s a specific style of gin that originated in London.
- Despite some misconception, gin was never banned. It was however subject to heavy regulations in the mid 1700s due to its effects on British society.
- Allegedly, the late Queen Mother’s favourite drink was a mix of 70% Dubonnet, a French aperitif and 30% gin, with a slice of lemon under the ice.
- The famous William Hogarth painting ‘Gin Lane’, originally issued in 1751, depicts a real street in London.
- There’s an actual science behind why gin and tonic tastes so good – the molecules are similar, which means the two parts are attracted to each other and are able to mix easily. When they’re mixed, the quinine and juniper flavours combine to create a flavour different from the individual flavour parts, which is why, even if you don’t like gin or tonic on their own, you may like them together.