Shake It Up! Your Cocktail Week Prep: 4 Things You Didn’t Know About Gin

London Cocktail Week hits the capital as of Monday. And amidst the botanical concoctions set to get the the Big Smoke limber and loose, we’ve made a devilish concoction of four things you mightn’t be so well acquainted with when it comes to gloriously strong distilled potions. More specifically, GIN.

Take note, because these educational nuggets (or shots, if you will) have the potency to save you from becoming a boozy mess lying on the floor. Or, at the very least, you’ll be a well-informed boozy mess lying on the floor…yes, there is a difference.


Gin’s classic accompaniment hails from the British Raj. Tonic water was invented in 1854, and came to the fore to make the anti-malarial quinine tolerable to the taste buds. That, allied with gin’s all-curing juniper (aiding everyone and his uncle with health problems such as hair loss, depression, wounds and poor blood circulation), sealed a marriage made in medicinal heaven. Intoxicating and healthy? Bottoms up to that.


It comes as scant surprise to learn that most of the world’s famous gins are made in the UK (many of us can barely go a sunny lunch without a cucumber-garnished goblet of mother’s ruin). It was not always thus. Originally, in fact, gin was a Dutch import; after the Thirty Years’ War in 17th-century Holland, British soldiers observed Dutch soldiers swigging from bottles of Jenever before fighting, to instil the spirit of belligerence. Hence, the term ‘Dutch courage’…

These days, the balance of power has shifted to the UK, with this country officially producing some of the best in the world. Is it any wonder then that as a nation we downed a staggering 624 million G&T’s last year alone?


Ms. Berry take note: it’s about time the Bake Off show-stopper round had a non-negotiatiable prerequisite: nailing how to make gin and tonic cake. Yup, cake. We don’t think we can look at the world in the same way again. What could add to the godlike goodness of gin than flour, sugar, butter and lemons? We’d love to take credit, but this tastebud treat of a recipe can be found on Mean Miss Mustard’s blog here. Not so mean after all.


Basil plants, mint plants, tarragon, dill… do make it your gin-orientated mission to grab whatever fragrant leaves take your tastebuds, add to boiling water, cool, freeze, add to gin, drink, and repeat. It’s that great, and that simple. If fragrant ice trays can’t satisfy your thirst, we suggest you stick to ale.



Post Your Thoughts