And here is another story about the reputation of the early gin…also known as Mothers Milk, Mothers Ruin, Ladies delight & Cuckolds Comfort.
Just reading those names actually say a lot about the reputation of early gin concoctions.
And it came to pass…..that the last British Regiment fighting the 80 year war with the Dutch against the Spanish, brought back the “Dutch Courage” to England. It soon exploded into the “Medicinal” drink of choice.
Now if you lived in London in the late 1600’s, drinking gin was probably a healthier choice than drinking water from the Thames – especially if you were downstream.
Let’s face it, Gin, even in the beginnings did have some medicinal qualities. Juniper, a traditional medicine for the treatment of arthritis and prevention of diabetes; also a great antiseptic. Coriander, rich in copper, zinc, iron and rumoured to help in the reduction of cholesterol.**
However it all went a bit too far. By the early 1700’s there were reputed to be over 10,000 gin houses in London alone.
So, and as with all governments everywhere, they saw an opportunity and imposed a licence cost of 54 pounds per year which is the equivalent of about $62,000 NZD today. It also meant a whole lot of other regulations and standards were put in place…
What happened next?…well that’s another story for another time
Image shared from William Hogarth, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
**Today in the Waitoki Washhouse Citrus gin we also use botanicals with fantastic properties such as Horopito, a traditional medicine used in the treatment of fungal infections and stomach ache & Kawakawa, a refreshing tonic that is thought to improve energy and stamina.