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by Peter Barradine October 19, 2020 2 min read

International Gin and Tonic Day!



To celebrate we thought it would be great to learn a bit more about the history of this wonderful drink and some of its different styles.

A Brief History of Gin

The drink can be traced back all the way to back to 70 A.D to when a physician named Pedanius Dioscorides developed an encyclopedia about herbal medicines. The encyclopedia contained a recipe for steeping juniper berries with wine in order to solve chest ailments, leading to the birth of gin! This is far removed for the drink we know and love today, so let's see how this has developed.

The real drive for the evolution of gin started in Holland with the development of a spirit called Geneaver, again as a medicine. It made the jump across the channel due to British soldiers fighting on Dutch land and consuming it as ‘Dutch courage’.

While in the UK during the 17th and 18th Centuries it became incredibly popular. It was so popular that experts believe that a quarter of households in London were distilling their own gin! 


This is where we introduce the London Dry Gin, and as we mentioned above you can see this is where the majority of the gin was being made, hence where it gets its name from. This style of gin is clear in colour, unsweetened with aromatic botanicals like coriander and cassia. If this style of gin tickles your fancy you can find an excellent selection on our website but Jones Signature London Dry Gin is a great example!

As the gin craze increased and got slightly out of hand parliament had to pass five different legislations in order to quash the British public's appetite for gin over a 22 year period. English artist William Hogarth did two prints, as seen below which depicted many shocking scenes from drinking gin while Beer Street was full of merriment. 

This then drove the production of gin underground and the quality of the product wasn’t that great as many unsavory ingredients were added in order to bulk up production. These gins were barely palatable so sugar was added, this leads us on to another style of gin, the Old Tom. This gets its name from the backhanded distribution style, basically you had to look for a tom cat painted on a wall. Upon discovering this cat a coin would be inserted into a slot and a shot of gin would be poured through a pipe. We don't deliver our  Porters Old Tom in that way but you can purchase it here, this beautiful gin is much more refined with fantastic exotic tropical flavours.

The history of gin is extensive and we have only scratched the surface here but all I can recommend is to try some of these excellent examples of gin and raise a glass to International Gin and Tonic Day.

Bottoms up!

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