10 Fun & Interesting Facts About Gin

by Keri Hedrick

Ah, Mama’s best friend, right? There is something about refreshing, botanical gin that really gives you that quick pick me up without knocking you off your feet. It’s a sophisticated ladies’ drink and can work for almost any situation, but how well do you know our beloved friend Gin?

Here are some fun facts to wow your friends or totally blitz that next quiz night!!

A tall glass of gin and tonic. Facts about Gin

British or a Dutch invention?

Either way – thank you all who came about its creation and evolution to everyday drink.

The Brits are definitely going to try to call this one for sure. But, alas, it seems there are far more arguments supporting the Dutch on this one. Dating back to the 17th Century, there is a record of Dutch Soldiers drinking Jenever to boost morale before a battle during the Eighty Years War. The British liked it so much they borrowed (stole?) – but it was a good 150 years later before the English came up with their own, much more famous version known as gin.

We’d argue that Jenever or Genever is actually a different drink – so can we call gin British?

Dutch Courage

We have heard debatable sources on this one too, but apparently, this was the name given to the Jenever – the traditional juniper-flavoured liquor drunk by the Dutch.

“Mothers Ruin”

EEEK, don’t like the sound of this one. This is apparently attributed to a belief that ‘no mother can survive the ravages of gin’. Gin was so prevalent at one point that it was decried it would be the downfall of civilization. Well, we’re still standing, and our mamas still seem to love it without complete damnation.

What actually makes gin?

Although there are different distillation processes and flavourings that can be added to ethanol during the re-distillation process, the predominant flavour must be juniper berry. The EU and US have slightly different legal definitions and ABV rules, but the common element is juniper.

Juniper berries aren’t berries!!

I know, what!!!!!? So, as we’ve discovered, Juniper Berries are the key ingredient that makes gin, gin. But the “berries” are actually a cone, though with fleshy and merged scales that give them a berry-like appearance. They come from Juniperus Communis – a type of conifer tree.

Juniper berries on a wooden spoon
Juniper berries are the key ingredient of gin

The juniper is a tough old shrub, growing in many different parts of the world, from North America and throughout most of Northern Europe and Asia. It can grow at varying elevations and is evergreen, so it is possible to obtain juniper berries throughout the year.

Better in the company of friends

Unlike some spirits, which were designed to be consumed neat, gin is meant to be mixed. It takes care to mix as the gin itself is full of botanical flavours, but it’s also what adds complexity to the drink. It’s kinda of like that fun friend you always want at your party as you know they’ll be good for a laugh and liven things up. Thanks, Gin!

Why is gin best friends with tonic?

Far more than for just drinking, the quinine, which is found in tonic water, was first used by British soldiers stationed in India as an antimalarial; it was a powder derived from cinchona bark (also known as “fever tree”). Its taste was considered unpleasant, though, without a good pour of sweet botanical gin!

You can learn more about our favourite mixer tonic here.

But does gin still have other friends?

Oh absolutely, as if this friend is the type to sit quietly in the corner all night. The G&T is undoubtedly one of the classic mixers of our time, and I don’t think it’s going to be knocked off its perch any time soon as Gin’s BFF. However, there are plenty of other cocktails that call for gin.

Gin is the Martini King! Or (Queen?)

Step aside Vodka and stop raining on Gins parade. This one is for you Gin. A traditional martini calls for gin, not vodka, though both seem to like to use the name interchangeably these days.

Gently stirred, not shaken please Mr Bond!

There’s an app for that!

Ever pondered the perfect Gin pairing? There’s an app we recommend you download called Ginventory – Gin & Tonic Guide. It will help you find your perfect tonic and garnish for that particular type of gin.

London Dry Gin isn’t always from London

Not all London Dry Gin actually comes from London, shock, horror, I know!!

London Dry Gin is defined as a gin with at least 70% ABV that doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients, flavours or colouring, and the amount of sugar is restricted to 0.1 grams per litre. But the name London Dry Gin can apply no matter where it’s produced.

The Brits aren’t the biggest consumers of gin

Nope, whilst it might most commonly be thought of these days as a British favourite, the Philippines are apparently the largest consumers of gin! According to the International Wine & Spirits Research group, for many years, the Philippines have topped the table, accounting for around 43% of the global gin market.

Gin is best for our Weight Watchers?

We can’t guarantee you will lose any weight drinking gin, but it does contain only 54 calories per 25ml serve – that said, it’s what you mix it with that can make the difference to your calorie count. A G&T will set you back around 120 calories, a Gin & Soda around 100 calories.

World Gin Day

World Gin Day is celebrated on the second Saturday in June, the next event takes place 8 June 2024 #WorldGinDay

A totally legitimate excuse to drink gin, right? Join in with other gin lovers around the world and mark this day with one of your favourite gin cocktails.

Mama Loves A Drink advocates quality over quantity. Always drink responsibly!

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