7 Surprising Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Gin

7 Surprising Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Gin

Ah, gin—the backbone of many a legendary cocktail, the quintessential spirit for sophisticated soirees, and the perfect companion for a refreshing sundowner. But how much do you really know about this versatile and storied spirit? Most of us think we know our gin, but there's a lot more to this crisp, refreshing drink than meets the eye. So, grab your favourite tipple, sit back, and let us take you on a journey through surprising facts about gin that you probably didn't know. Cheers!

  1. Holland Originally Made the First Gin 

Hold your horses, Britain! Although gin is often associated with the English, it was the Dutch who first distilled the spirit we know today as gin. Known as "genever" (derived from the Dutch word for juniper), this early ancestor of gin dates back to the 16th century and was used primarily as a medicinal elixir. It wasn't until the 17th century that the English soldiers fighting in the Thirty Years' War brought the spirit back to Britain and kick-started the gin craze.

  1. Dutch Courage: Franciscus Sylvius Is Touted as the Godfather of Gin

Speaking of the Dutch, Franciscus Sylvius, a 16th-century physician, is often credited with inventing gin. While it's true that he was a pioneer in the field of distillation, there's debate over whether he actually created the first juniper-infused spirit. Nevertheless, his tireless work in the pursuit of medicinal concoctions has earned him the moniker of Gin's Godfather.

  1. India Created the Iconic Gin & Tonic

Gin alone may be a Dutch creation, but we have the British to thank for the classic Gin & Tonic. In the 19th century, quinine, an ingredient in tonic water, was used by the British East India Company to prevent malaria. However, the bitter taste of quinine was less than palatable, so enterprising Brits mixed it with gin, sugar, and water—and thus, the Gin & Tonic was born.

  1. Gin Paved the Way for Gimlet, a Drink to Stop Scurvy in the Navy

Another gin-based cocktail with medicinal roots is the Gimlet. In the days of yore, British sailors were at risk of scurvy due to a lack of vitamin C. Enter Sir Thomas Gimelette, a naval surgeon, who concocted a mix of gin and Rose's Lime Cordial to help sailors get their daily dose of vitamin C. The result? A delicious cocktail and a scurvy-free crew. 

  1. Gin is Also Called "Mother's Ruin"

Gin's darker history is encapsulated in its nickname, "Mother's Ruin." During the Gin Craze in 18th-century London, gin consumption skyrocketed, leading to a rise in crime, poverty, and societal decay. The term "Mother's Ruin" was coined to highlight the devastating impact of gin on families and communities.

  1. Gin Is Not Meant to Be Drank Neat 

While you may enjoy sipping your gin straight, the spirit was never intended to be consumed neat. The beauty of gin lies in its versatility, and it's meant to be mixed with other ingredients to create a harmonious blend of flavours. From the classic Martini to the modern Negroni, there's a gin cocktail for every palate.

  1. The "Gin Twist" Is the Original Classic

Move over, Martini—there's a new classic in town. The Gin Twist is considered the original gin cocktail, dating back to 1923. A simple blend of gin, lemon juice, sugar, and hot water, this warming concoction was the toast of the town long before James Bond ever uttered the words "shaken, not stirred."

The Bottom Line

From its medicinal beginnings to its role in some of the most iconic cocktails, gin has a fascinating and surprising history. As you enjoy your next gin-based concoction, take a moment to appreciate the legacy of this remarkable spirit—and perhaps impress your friends with your newfound knowledge of gin trivia.

At Jim and Tonic, we believe that everyone should have access to quality and unique gins. That’s why we offer an extensive range of amazing gins and gin gifts! Whether you’re looking for a special gift for a loved one or just want to treat yourself, we have something for everyone.

Want to get your hands on a piece of Jim?

Award-winning London brand.
Sustainability at our core.
Fast delivery.
5-star reviews.

Shop Now

Absolutely outstanding. By far the most amazing gin I've ever tasted!

Mediterranean Gin

As a Tanqueray man, all I can say is, your gin is the finest drop I've tasted, ever.

Grapefruit Gin

This gin is bloody delicious. Best pink gin I've ever had, and I've had a few!

Rhubarb Gin

The only problem is, we liked it so much we had to order a replacement as we finished it already!

London Dry Gin