Gin is a distilled spirit which derives its predominant flavour from the berries of the juniper tree (lat. juniperus communis). The Dutch doctor François de la Boe is credited with the invention of this famous spirit. In the 17th century he started to distill the berries to create a herbal medicine. He called it “Genever”, the Dutch word for juniper berries. English soliders, who were fighting with the Dutch against the Spanish in the Eighty Years’ War, then brought the drink to Britain and gave it the easier name “Gin”. In the various distilleries of London the recipes and distillation methods of the newly introduced spirit were further developed and improved. The best Gins were labeled “London Dry Gin”, indicating that no sugar nor any other ingredients other than water were added to the final distillate. Therefore “London Dry Gin” does not refer to the origin of the spirit (Gin from London), in fact it is a quality label used for extremely pure and traditional Gin. In the following years the spirit became highly popular especially amongst the British upper class. E.g., the drink was heavily consumed in tropical British colonies. Why? Because during this time Quinine was the only effective anti-malarial compound. Quinine was dissolved in carbonated water to form tonic water and the British then added Gin to mask the bitter flavour of quinine. And guess what, the resulting mix became the origin of today’s famous Gin & Tonic combination!

The history of Gin