It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
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“I never drink anything stronger than gin before breakfast. You can't trust water: Even a straight stick turns crooked in it.” - W.C. Fields
Somehow over the years, this rather delectable alcohol has taken a backseat to all the other common favourites like rum, whisky, vodka and beer. This is especially surprising given that gin is the base for some of the most popular cocktails, such as martinis.
Here are ten surprising, interesting and quirky facts you never knew about this amazing drink. Hopefully, they will leave you thirsty for more!
Fact One: The first variation of gin was originally created by--or attributed to--Franciscus de la Boe of Holland. This dates back to the 1600s. Of course, since he created it for purely medicinal purposes--as a diuretic to cure stomach ailments, gouts and gallstones--de la Boe would be rolling in his grave to see what's become of his medicine in trendy bars around the world!
Fact Two: Since this Dutch chemist distilled water with Juniper to make the liquid compound, it came to be known as ‘Gin’--as in a homonym for Juniper.
Fact Three: Even as an alcoholic beverage, gin and tonic was widely consumed for medicinal purposes by British soldiers in the 1800s, whenever they were in the tropics. This is because the quinine in the tonic water was widely believed to cure malaria. The gin was merely added to mask the bitterness of the quinine. Not too shabby for a medicine!
Fact Four: Gin became increasingly popular in the 1920s in the USA thanks to the Prohibition. The reason for this was simple enough--it was easy to make at home! All one needed was some cheap grain alcohol, flavourings like juniper, and a nice, big bathtub for distilling. That's how bathtub gin was born!
Fact Five: It was also due to the above-mentioned Prohibition that ‘speakeasies’ came about for the first time. These were illegal bootlegging shops that would sell alcohol under the table. In fact, many barber shops at the time functioned as legitimate establishments by day but had bottles of tonic water lined up on their marble counters. By night, these shops were swinging dive bars that were illegal at the time!
Fact Six: The burst capillaries at the end of many alcoholics’ noses (often leading to swelling) are colloquially referred to as ‘gin blossoms.’
Fact Seven: The Philippines is the world’s largest gin market. It is estimated that 25 million cases are consumed each year over there. The United States and Spain are in distant second and third positions respectively.
Fact Eight: Legend has it that Winston Churchill made his martinis by pouring a glass of Plymouth gin, then merely glancing at a bottle of vermouth from the other side of the room. As such, a drink of pure gin (don’t try this unless you’re absolutely certain you can handle it!) with garnish and over ice is now known as a ‘Churchill Martini.’
Fact Nine: As it has been around for over 500 years now, there exist several varieties of gin. However, there is one brand that stands out from all the rest--Bombay Sapphire. In 2008, Bombay Sapphire teamed up with jewelers Baccarat and Garrard to create ‘Revelation.’ Each bottle of the crystalline gin was priced and sold at Rs 1 crore!
Fact Ten: Gin was once the most popular drink around. In London in 1741, residents drank 41 million litres of gin. The total population there was just 500,000. Many publications set in that time claim that gin was apparently causing massive lawlessness in London and those in charge attempted to impose all sorts of ‘gin acts’ to bring consumption down. The masses naturally revolted and rioted, ensuring that none of these laws worked.
-Pictures courtesy Thinkstock-
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