Today we are going to talk about the history and origin of Gin. In other articles on our blog we have talked about the culture of other distilled beverages that are part of our Bull Terrier world. Today, we want to share with you a summary about the world of gin. We like to offer you a little culture about this drink that is attracting followers, especially in the art of gin and tonic.
Origin fo the gins. Gin is an alcoholic drink that has been part of our lives for centuries. We all know his name, and probably everyone has a bottle at home. . Today it is a drink known by the Gin Tónic but it is used in many cocktails. Although we will talk about its creator, it should be noted that some Italian monks from the 11th and 12th centuries had already distilled cereals. Juniper and other botanicals were added to combat bubonic plague and other diseases.
The remedy turned out to be ineffective and fell into disuse, but! Who knows if they didn’t also drink it in their hermetic world of monasteries? In any case as we know it today it has undergone multiple changes. Thousands of secrets have been applied to its preparation, these being part of the mystery that has surrounded such a striking drink. Everything has a history, and this is the history and origin of the gin.
HISTORY OF THE GIN.
Gin is a drink with centuries of history. Everyone sees this drink as the perfect partener to the tonic in the modern world of gin and tonic, but it emerged as a medicinal remedy. Gin is an alcoholic drink with botanicals. Botanicals are the ingredients that are applied to a highly rectified alcohol, to change its flavor and add personality to the drink. But it was not always like this. Botanicals were initially added to an alcoholic base to change its healing properties. The Gin in its origins was used as a drug. It sought to cure different digestive ailments, muscle pain, tranquilizer.
FRANZ DE LA BOE.
The invention, or the reinvention, is attributed to Franciscus Sylvius (1.614-1672), or also called Franz de la Boe. He was a German doctor and scientist who practiced his career in the Netherlands. This is where he first made this particular distillate. He was a doctor specialized in digestive processes and blood circulation.
Based on a neutral alcohol obtained from malted cereal, he added juniper berries to rectify it again when distilling it a second time. He also used other botanicals such as cardamom and angelica root, as well as other plants known for their healing properties. In fact, it was not looking for a result that would convince the palate, but rather it was looking to add its already known active ingredients to its curative distillate. Each plant, seed or root, provides healing properties. These were already known for more than twenty centuries before. Franz de la Boe sought to add plant properties and carried out multiple experiments.
JUNIPER AND ALCOHOL.
Juniper is a plant that produces berries called juniper berry, which were already known many centuries before for their healing properties. They were used in Egypt to embalm mummies. Juniper alcohols were used in the Middle Ages as well, to combat plague and leprosy, these uses being not very successful. Gin is rectified alcohol distilled or infused with juniper, and many more botanicals, but the initial marriage was based on alcohol and juniper.
As we already mentioned in our articles on pomace brandy and herbal liqueur, all this drinks were made for its healing properties. Then the population looks for recreational properties and adapts it to take it for fun and relaxation.
Franz de la Boe, however, did successfully get his stomach remedy for digestion. It proved to be an excellent diuretic, digestive, painkiller, etc. In its origins it was called jenever, a name that evolved, according to the country, to the currently known gin, or the abbreviation Gin used in England, and in the rest of the world.
EXPANSION OF THE GIN.
The expansion of the new recreational medical invention was not long in spreading. In those years, the seventeenth century, Holland was already a power in international trade and was present in many countries. Today many people think that gin arose in England but it is not. The Netherlands is the first country where gin was born, although some countries have later adopted their own distillation method.
During the war in the seventeen century, the Catholic, French and Spanish soldiers fought against the Dutch, and they asked for help from their English Protestant allies. When entering the conflict the English verified in first person the «dutch courage» of the Dutch, who faced each other without fear in battle, and had no other mystery than the intake of jenever (gin). The members of the army did not take long to give it a use other than medicinal.
The soldiers soon became more than fans of this drink.
Gin quickly became fashionable and began to be consumed in other countries. It dethroned the French brandy as a cult drink of the wealthiest social classes. The English discovered their drink, since they did not depend on trade with France to buy Brandy or spirits. They could distil their own cereal drink. They did not take long to learn the Dutch methods although they changed and evolved to their own way of making gin. They even sold to the world to be the creators.
In addition to all this, the commercial relations between France and England were broken with the marriage of Gillermo de Orange, from Holland, with the daughter of James II of England, Maria Estuardo, thus beginning the already popular distillation in England, since it also prohibited the import of Dutch gin. This was a great commercial advantage, not depending on another country for alcohol consumption.
GIN IN ENGLAND.
In England the beginning of the 18th century marked the beginning of the national gin distillation industry. Recall that other nations had been making their spirits, wines and spirits for several centuries, however, England always had a high commercial dependence on alcoholic beverages from other countries.
It did not take long for many distilleries to appear, in many cities and towns. Once the basic knowledge of distillation was extended, many wanted to make their own distillate or for commercial use. The invasion of distillers in the British Isles reached such a point that the price of gin plummeted. What was initially unattainable for the modest population became an even cheaper drink than beer. Let’s say there came a time when there were more people making than buying. This brought serious problems of alcoholism in the society of the time. Some London records calculated that each inhabitant consumed more than 65 liters of Gin per year.
In addition to the problem of abusive consumption due to its low price, there was the low quality of the distillations, with a high content of methanol and other harmful by-products of the distillation. In Holland and other countries they were more meticulous in the elaboration and in those years they produced higher quality gins. By then the English already called their spirits Gin and such was the wave of alcoholism that had to regulate their production.
REGULATION AND SEARCH FOR QUALITY.
By regulating its production, not only was the price intended to rise, and therefore consumption was more moderate, taxes were also collected. An annual tax of fifty pounds was imposed, a very high amount for those years. The quality of the distillation was established that it had to meet some standards. Nothing is further from reality. By imposing a fee for distilling gin, more clandestine distillers emerged and the problem of alcoholism increased. It took decades for the distillation techniques to improve and thus the quality of the gins. Little by little it was regulated and more quality distillates emerged.
In the following table of the time the health problem that was in the street is represented.
The quality of the distillate had greatly improved and the invention of new alembics and techniques led to new methods such as the London Dry Gin. Trade between England and the rest of Europe regained strength. The new entry of high-quality beers reduced gin consumption. The best distillers on the market survived. In the Netherlands, manufacturers also improved their gins. In those years they were always better than the English, although increasingly different.
THE GIN SPREADS AROUND THE WORLD.
In the 19th century, the English navy was present in practically the entire world. These sailors made it fashionable in all the ports where they made a stop, the gin. If the Dutch had already expanded their consumption centuries ago, the English made a further expansion.
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the English had a commercial or military presence in many parts of the world. I highlight the trade with India, where the Gin Tonic emerged among the soldiers. The commercial expansion of its brands did not take long to have a presence in all ports. At that time he also came to Spain where his own personality was applied. The quality standards of the time were improved.
Each place where it has been distilled, the knowledge has been expanded and its own personality has been applied. That is why a good Gin can be from anywhere in the world.
GIN ARRIVED TO SPAIN.
The English brought gin to Spain, and more specifically to Menorca. On this island, occupied for a few years by the English, gin began to be made. It was distilled with a more Mediterranean style, in its alcoholic base and in its botanicals. The alcoholic cereal bases were replaced by the wine alcohol bases.
In the south of Spain distilleries were also established in Malaga and Cadiz. Once the gin was made in Spain, it quickly became fashionable and reached the highest social classes, especially in the south. The northern areas were consuming pomace brandy and the liqueurs made from this pomace. Wealthy social classes had access to quality Whiskeys, Brandys and Gins.
After all the history that gin has undergone, which we have partially told in our post, today gin is one of the most widespread distillates in the world. Only Vodka and whiskey have more consumption, although the consumption of gin is more and more widespread, given above all, thanks to the fashion of Gin and tonic.
Currently, the gin has hundreds of brands on the market, and the consumer requests, consumes and studies the perfect combinations of each gin, with its favorite tonic and with its desired preparation. In trendy pubs and bars, there is a desire to learn, to strive to do a better job for the customer each time. A culture that has recovered from the cocktail shakers of before, who created cult cocktails, which some have gone down in history
Probably every day a different cocktail is invented, but only some are lucky to have a recipe and a transcendent name, that lasts and is recognized. There are also some combinations that, without leaving your bar, are delicious, but only a few go down in history. Gin cocktails are among the most popular, and today the one with the most name is Gin Tonic, a long drink that we will talk about in our next article, which we have almost finished for you.
Our Bull Terrier Signature Gin is a gin with four distillations that is surprising the most demanding. We rely on traditional culture but with the best current techniques to eliminate by-products from the first distillations. We use 4 botanicals so that they are perceptible and have personality in the shot.
We hope you liked reading about the history of gin. We enjoy not only preparing it, but we also like culture and reading about its origins, and then we share this general culture with you all.
There are also some combinations that, without leaving your bar, are delicious, but only a few go down in history. Gin cocktails are among the most popular, and today the one with the most name is Gin Tonic, a long drink that we will talk about in our next article, which we have almost finished for you. If you want can visit our article about Origin of Gin Tonic.
See you soon!!!
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