Instant Expert: Gin
1. Gin & Tonics became popular in the 1850’s when the English in India added gin to the tonic water they drank to avoid malaria. Quinine, from cinchona bark, is what makes tonic water. The British soldiers added lime juice & sugar to mask the bitterness of the tonic water.
2. Folks in the Philippines really enjoy gin. They consume approximately half of the gin in the world. That’s a huge per capita consumption of gin. Spaniards also love their gin.
3. There are four basic styles of gin:
a) London dry is the most popular and famous style.
b) Plymouth gin is distilled by only one distillery in England. It’s a bit less “junipery” than London dry gin.
c) Old Tom gin is a bit sweeter and rounder than London dry gin. In 1730’s London an enterprising guy named Bradstreet hung a sign featuring an old tomcat on the outside wall of his shop. Underneath the cat’s paw there was a slot where, when a coin was inserted, then Mr. Bradstreet would pour a shot of gin through a lead pipe, directly into his customer’s mouth!
d) Genever gin is the most robust style of gin. It’s distilled using a malt wine spirit, (like whiskey) and is not citrusy at all. It’s earthy and funky (in a good way) and unlike any other gin. This is the original style of gin.
4. The British Royal Navy drank a lot of gin. The gin was stored next to the gunpowder below the ship’s deck. Concerned about the quality of the gin served to their sailors the officers discovered that if the gin spilled onto the gunpowder and the gunpowder just smoked or failed to light it was diluted. However if the gunpowder lit after getting wet the gin was at least 114 proof (57% ABV).
5. Gin may be produced anywhere and is one of the least regulated spirits. It is the spirit used to make the original Martini. While you may love your “Chocotini” made with vodka and chocolate liqueur, a true Martini is gin based.