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Juniper curiosities

Juniper curiosities: 3 fascinating things you didn’t know about gin

One of history’s most celebrated spirits is also one of history’s most interesting, with a myriad of fascinating facts pertaining to this juniper spirit. The spirit has recently undergone a global resurgence, with clubbers and connoisseurs across the world revelling in a gin cocktail at the bar, distillery, pub, garden party…

But what are some of the fascinating facts surrounding this legendary spirit? What makes it such a fabled ingredient in some of history’s most desired cocktails?

Grab your favourite Australian gin, as we’re about to go on a juniper journey through the fun and fascinating facts of this most invigorating spirit:

⦁ It caused an alcoholism epidemic in the United Kingdom

Many people think the spirit was invented in the United Kingdom, when it was in fact the Dutch who first started mixing the juniper-infused drink in the 16th Century. However, that didn’t stop the Brits from seriously adopting it as their own, so much so that it caused an alcoholism epidemic in the 1700s.

Given that the Brits consumed 47 million litres of the stuff in 1733 alone, it makes perfect sense that there was an increase in the death rate, in violent crime, prostitution, as well a decrease in the overall birth rate.

Naturally, this was a cause for some concern, and so much so that it forced the British Government to introduce a series of bills (aptly entitled the “Gin Bills”) to regulate the consumption of the beverage. It’s worth noting that most Brits were basically mixing it in their bathtubs (you know, the place where they all bathed once a month in the same water or whatever people did in those rudimentary times) before an increase in quality and price essentially regulated the beverage’s dangerous consumption.

⦁ Today the Philippines drinks the most

Okay, so obviously it’s not surprising that the Brits consumed a helluva lot of the juniper stuff back in the 1700s – it’s just stuff of common knowledge. But what may tickle your interest is the fact that the Philippines absolutely smashes the stuff these days, accounting for a gigantic 43 percent of the global market!

And just how much gin is that in cases? A cheeky 23 million, nothing massive… the drink’s popularity largely stems from the omniscient presence of Ginebra San Miguel, a massive drinks company that has been producing it there for many years.

Philippine people even have a special name for when it’s time to get on the junipers: “ginuman”, a literal translation of “gin drinking time”.

⦁ It coined the term “Dutch courage”

Have you ever found yourself uttering this expression whilst drinking a beer, a wine, whatever, and wondering what it means without setting th4e intention of actually finding out?

Well, we are here to help you with that… “Dutch courage” is a term that stems from back in the days when the Dutch were producing absolutely bucket loads of the stuff. It also just so happens that around this time they were locked in a bitter scrap entitled the Eight Years War, and they were given this powerful beverage to increase their battlefield bravery.

To be honest, if I were a soldier, the last thing I would want is to be drunk as hell when running out onto a field full of (perhaps more alert) Spaniards but hey, that’s just me, I save my ginuman for times of peace and love.

Muhammad Asad Raza