Gin! It’s all the rage these days. Artisan gin. Gin festivals. Even gin made here in the Scottish Borders. But what do we really know about gin? Let’s take a closer look at the world of gin.
Fact 1: It’s berry good
In order for a spirit to be classed as a gin, its main flavour must come from juniper berries. There are various styles and flavours of gin, each with its own blend of botanicals but, the commonality of all gins is based on the juniper berry.
Fact 2: Gin was a medicine
Back in the Middle Ages, gin started life in the realms of herbal medicine. The recipe was based on ‘jenever’ the juniper-flavoured traditional drink in the Netherlands.
Fact 3: Gin, the origin of the term 'Dutch Courage'
Gin became popular in the UK when Dutch monarchs, William and Mary of Orange, occupied the English, Scottish, and Irish thrones.
Did you know that the term
‘Dutch Courage’ refers to drinking gin?
Fact 4: You have the British Army to thank for inventing the G&T
In the 19th century, quinine was the only effective anti-malarial compound. The quinine was dissolved in carbonated water - effectively creating tonic water. Unfortunately, the resulting concoction had a bitter taste and was quite unpalatable. So, ingenious British officers in India used to add gin to the ‘Indian tonic water’, to make it taste nicer, thus creating gin and tonic.
Fact 5: It's Sloe gin, not 'slow' gin!
Sloe gin made by infusing the fruit of the blackthorn bush in gin. The sloes turn the gin deep red and give it a fruity flavour. Sloe gin tends to be mixed with lemonade rather than tonic. Damson gin is made in the same way with equally delicious results.
Look out for more gin-based blog posts coming soon. In the meantime, why not try one of the many gins on the Gin Menu at the Red Lion, Earlston?