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A Brief

History
Of Gin

How Gin Began

The
Beginnings
Of Gin

Jenever. Hollands. Mother’s Ruin. Dutch Courage. Old Tom … The nation’s favourite spirit goes by many names, but we prefer its simplest: Gin.  It has had many ups and downs through the years, but with its versatility in flavour and usage in a whole host of cocktails, gin has experienced a resurgence in popularity worldwide. This means it is an exciting time for gin production as distilleries have the scope and opportunity to develop the drink with plenty of willing participants to taste test.  It all began with the Dutch, who introduced the English soldiers to Jenever back in the 16th Century. Originally used for medicinal purposes, this warming spirit was soon taken onto the battlefield to inspire confidence and strength amongst the troops. Dutch Courage, anyone?  Towards the late 1600s, with a Dutchman on the throne (William of Orange) and the heavy taxing of beer, the popularity of gin soared.

Over half of drinking establishments in London were gin shops. Enter the period known as “The Gin Craze”, with a huge amount of gin production (and consumption) in the country, the government decided to take action to try and curb the nation’s enthusiasm for the stuff. A hefty licence fee was introduced, pushing the industry underground. Hogarth produced the famous etchings of Beer Street and Gin Lane to promote the drinking of English Ale as favourable to this new foreign spirit. The Gin Act of 1751 was passed and its popularity began to fade.  Fast forward to the height of the British Empire and find yourself in India. The army was using tonic and quinine, isolated from the bark of a cinchona or ‘fever’ tree, in order to cure malaria. To mask the unpleasant bitter taste, officers began mixing it with water, sugar, lime and… drumroll, please… gin! Thus, the classic Gin and Tonic cocktail was born.  Since then there have been many other cocktails created with gin as a key ingredient. Martinis, Negronis and Singapore Slings are favourites among The Northumberland Spirit Co. team. What’s yours? 

Alnwick
Gin

You will savour the key flavours of Juniper, Rosehip and Lavender; rounded off with just a hint of Fennel to give a sublimely smooth taste.