A Brief History of Gin
Gin is a very old drink that is steeped in history. The history of gin actually goes back thousands of years.
During the reign of William III, a new formula for gin was introduced. This new drink was christened gin and it was first used in England during the “English Wars”. During this period, there was a major arms trade occurring between the major European countries. As a result, the demand for all types of gin quickly increased. This caused many manufacturers to try and modify their formula in order to compete with the other companies.
When the “English Revolution” happened, many people who had sided with the royalist cause switched sides and fought against the crown. One of these people was Robert Plant, Earl of Sandwich. Because of his loyalty to the crown, he was thrown into prison and was later executed along with many of the royalists. This sparked the rest of the gin craze that was to become very influential. Rumors that the king had some sort of poisoning attack by poisoners started the popularity of gin as well.
During the mid- Seventeenth century, the gin craze reached its height in London, England. There, gin was mixed with various spirits and served as a drink.
London quickly became a mecca for people who were looking for new and interesting things like gin. Distilling the gin in a distiller proved to be an excellent way to make gin better and stronger. Distilling moved from a small operation to a large-scale process, resulting in gin that was much stronger than it had been before. Also, distillers added botanicals to gin in order to add a flavor not available in pure gin.
One of the most popular gin drinks that was enjoyed during the Golden Age of gin was what was called “sherry gin”. It was primarily created with a brandy and gentian violet spirit but was later changed to a gentian solution to avoid any chance of offending the Catholic Church. One interesting thing about this gin is that it contained botanicals like Rosemary, mint, and thyme. It was common to add a few cloves of garlic as well.
The age of gin in America during the late 1800’s had another interesting side effect. Many American gin makers began using juniper berries to ferment their gin. Juniper berries are known for their spicy flavor, so gin makers would put the berries into the spirit to enhance its flavor. This made juniper berries one of the most widely used spices in American gin throughout the middle and late nineteenth century.
Over the course of time, many American gin makers also began adding Cloves to gin, a practice that came about because of European gin users who did not want to add juniper berries to their gin. Cloves have a unique juniper flavor that is similar to juniper berries, but has a bit more of a peppery flavor than most juniper berries have. When gin makers begin to use Cloves in their gin they are simply rubbing the spice into the spirit, or they are using a container to hold the spice. Regardless, Cloves become a prominent ingredient in American gin because it adds a unique flavor not found in other forms of spirits.