A History of Gin. Then and now..

A copy of the print, Tom & Jerry taking Blue Ruin, after the spell is broke up, by George Cruikshank.
“Tom & Jerry taking Blue Ruin, after the spell is broke up”, by George & Isaac Robert Cruikshank.

As the saying goes, history really does repeat itself!

A History Of Gin

Unless you’ve been locked inside a vodka distillery for the past 4 years, you will have noticed the ever-increasing rise (and drunken falls) of Gin drinkers in the UK. And it’s not just the fancy bars in town that are jumping in on the trend. You will find an array of different brands and flavours being offered at your local boozer down the road too. Gin cocktails has made a huge comeback.

Gin then

Back in the mid-1700s the UK was crazy about Gin. So crazy in fact that it all got a bit out of hand. Once dubbed ‘Mothers Ruin’ due to its disastrous effects on family life.

Gin was first used as a medicine — thought to be a cure for indigestion and gout. It quickly became known as the ‘poor mans’ drink due to its affordability and how easily available it was. — I’m thinking the same as you, history didn’t repeat itself on that one, there’s nothing affordable about the fancy Gins we have been knocking back over the past 4 years or so.

In London alone it is reported that they were distilling 10 Million gallons of the stuff annually. It got so bad that it was making woman sterile and men impotent. A lot of those gallons were drunk by woman. Which saw children and families being neglected. Children would be sold into prostitution by desperate parents and babies were given the Gin to quieten them — do not try this at home, it’s frowned upon these days.

The picture, Gin Lane, by William Hogarth.
“Gin Lane”, by William Hogarth (1751)

The Gin Act

Eventually, the government enforced the Gin act and enforced taxes which saw a lot of businesses unable to sell the gin. This inevitably opened the sale of gin onto the black market.

It wasn’t until 1830 that the Duke of Wellington’s administration passed the The Beerhouse Act, which removed all taxes on beer and allowed anyone to open a Beer Shop on payment of a two-guinea fee. As a result, the Gin smuggling business was brought to an end.

Gin now

A black and white photo of a cocktail bar.
Gin bars of the 21st century.

16 million bottles of Gin sold in 2017

According to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), there are 1.4 million more adults drinking Gin in the UK than there were 4-years ago. Their market report revealed that in 2017, there were 16 million bottles of Gin sold, worth a whopping £413 million, these sales were up by £104 million during the festive period alone, compared to that of 2016.

Personally, I was never a Gin fan. I wouldn’t have poured myself a Gin even when it was the only drink available at home. For starters, I never liked the taste, although I must admit I never experimented with it. I tried it with Tonic-Water and decided there and then, that Gin was not my tipple.

Growing up, it was a well-known assumption that all Gin drinkers were sad old woman that ended their gin drinking evenings crying on the shoulder of their taxi drivers — I prefer my taxi driver to see my face without snot all over it. My assumption has changed since my discovery of flavoured Gin and I am now Gin’s number one, dry-eyed, fan.

So why the sudden increase in Gin drinkers?

A recent study by the journal BMJ Open has revealed that over 40% of us that drink spirits such as Gin, Vodka and Whisky say that we feel sexier than when drinking beer or wine. Did we all read this survey and suddenly feel that we too, wanted to feel sexier? Did we all want to be part of this underground sexy community? Yeah we wish.

We all remember the cocktail craze in the naughties right? Cocktail bars were springing up all over our town centres quicker than we could pronounce ‘Mojito’. Our bartenders were constantly looking for that unique cocktail to get us through their doors. It wasn’t long before they looked to the cocktail recipe books of old (Dark age of the cocktail 1970s – 1990s). And that ladies and gentlemen is how the revival began. After delving into these historical drinks, it was soon discovered that many of them were Gin based.

Discover ourGin Cocktails.

Gin Distilleries

We saw a huge rise in the amount of small distilleries that sprung up all around the world. The short production times and the variety of flavours offered became an extremely attractive investment. Praise the distillers.

And not before long we were being GRATEFULLY introduced to the wonderful variety and flavours that these distillers were producing. From my personal favourite Rhubarb and Ginger, to Strawberry, Passionfruit, Turkish Delight, Wild Berry, Sweet Violet, and the crazy Hubba-Bubba flavoured gin. If you still have your doubts about Gin and haven’t taken that leap of faith into the beautiful sexy Gin infused world. Take my word for it. Go out and find your nearest Gin selling little heaven bar and try some. You will not regret it.

  • Whitley Neill Rhubarb & Ginger Gin

  • Warner Edwards HoneyBee Gin

  • Zymurgorium Sweet Violet Gin

  • Edinburgh Christmas Gin

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