1. Gin was originally created in Holland by Franciscus de la Boe in the 1600’s for medicinal purposes as a diuretic to cure stomach ailments, gout and gallstones.
2. The name gin derives from the Dutch word for juniper ‘genievre.’
3. It is believed that William of Orange introduced gin to England when he became King in 1689. He promoted the unlicensed production of gin and levied a heavy tax on all imported spirits.
4. The gin and tonic has become a British obsession. In the 1800’s British soldiers used to drink tonic water in the tropics as it was widely believed that quinine cured malaria. Gin was mixed with the tonic to mask the bitterness of the quinine.
5. Various ‘Gin Acts’ were introduced in the 1700’s in England to try and reduce the consumption of spirits. Alcohol was becoming an ever increasing problem within London and the cause of social and economical unrest. These acts triggered widespread revolt and in 1743 riots erupted across the city causing multiple deaths.
6. The publication of ‘Gin Lane’ by William Hogarth in 1750 depicts the debauchery that gin was believeing to be causing across London.
7. In 1820 the first gin palace opened in Holborn and Old Street. You can still find gin palaces in London today – visit the lavish Princess Louise in Holborn.
8. After the implementation of Prohibition in the United States in 1920, making alcohol at home became increasingly common. Bathtub gin became a widespread phenomenon as cheap grain alcohol and flavourings such as juniper and glycerine were left to distil in bathtubs for hours without the need for barrells or alternative equipment.
9. London Dry Gin is currently the most popular type of gin. The term ’London Dry’ however refers to the way in which the spirit is made as botanicals must be adding during the distillation process instead of after.
10. One of the few brands to still produce gin in London is Beefeater.