It is hard to believe that Darwin didn’t include the wonderful drink we call Gin and the oriGINs of this delightful species in his theory of evolution, because he should have.
The delightful explosion of flavours that we enjoy today in our favourite Gin began its journey over 700 years ago.
It is understood that Monks in the 1300’s were responsible for the first incarnation of gin, taking a malt wine and distilling it to about 50% ABV.
Today this is known as Genever, however back then the concoction was somewhat distasteful, so in a fit of inspiration they began to add local botanicals to make it more palatable and then being the good snake oil salespeople they were they also added quinine to fight off malaria.
For 300 years the origin raw ingredients of gin were sold as a medicinal cure all
Fast forward to the 1600’s the concoction was discovered while the British were assisting the Dutch in Antwerp fighting the Spanish in what became an 80 year war.
Why on earth the Spanish were up in Holland I have know Idea but the British discovered that the Dutch were provided the “Gin” to make it easier for them to go to war, which is where the term “Dutch Courage ” comes from.
In the end all sides were drinking this potion which in my theory, not Darwin’s, is why the war went on for 80 years.
If you’re too drunk to get out of bed every morning then you’re probably not inclined to want to go and fight.
Rumour has it that at the end of this war the last British Regiment took the “Gin” back to England whereupon the beginnings of the gin we know today began to take shape……..
But that’s another story for another time…
Image shared from Walter Dendy Sadler, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.