Gin: A Global History (Reaktion Books - Edible)

Gin: A Global History (Reaktion Books - Edible)

Lesley Jacobs Solmonson

Language: English

Pages: 167

ISBN: 1861899246

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Mother’s Milk, Mother’s Ruin, and Ladies’ Delight. Dutch Courage and Cuckold’s Comfort. These evocative nicknames for gin hint that it has a far livelier history than the simple and classic martini would lead you to believe. In this book, Lesley Jacobs Solmonson journeys into gin’s past, revealing that this spirit has played the role of both hero and villain throughout history.

Taking us back to gin’s origins as a medicine derived from the aromatic juniper berry, Solmonson describes how the Dutch recognized the berry’s alcoholic possibilities and distilled it into the whiskey-like genever. She then follows the drink to Britain, where cheap imitations laced with turpentine and other caustic fillers made it the drink of choice for poor eighteenth-century Londoners. Eventually replaced by the sweetened Old Tom style and later by London Dry gin, its popularity spread along with the British Empire. As people today once again embrace classic cocktails like the gimlet and the negroni, gin has reclaimed its place in the world of mixology. Featuring many enticing recipes, Gin is the perfect gift for cocktail aficionados and anyone who wants to know whether it should be shaken or stirred.
















Madam Geneva, 1736, engraving. In response to the Gin Acts, various artists comically mourned gin’s regulation. The day before the law went into effect, rioting crowds used their last pennies to buy gin. On 29 September 1736, the date the Act was to be enforced, copies of an engraving entitled The Funeral Procession of Madam Geneva were sold. Beneath the print, a poem lamented: The Lamentable Fall of Madam Geneva, 1736, engraving. No dram to lift their spirits up, Cheap Cordial for the Poors

result being that they were routinely attacked by street mobs. A subsequent 1738 Act made it a crime to attack an informer. In 1743 and 1747, England was embroiled in the War of Austrian Succession, and Parliament targeted gin once again, less for moral reasons than to raise war funds. By 1750, the number of licensed gin retailers was close to 29,000. So-called reformers continued to blame gin for everything from poverty itself to the undermining of the workforce to promiscuity and the spread of

London – concerned the middle and upper classes. As had happened during the Craze, gin continued to lure women and children into its dens of iniquity. A sketch by caricaturist Kenny Meadows entitled ‘The Dram Drinker’ ran in the Illustrated London News on 6 May 1848. In the picture, a tattered gent gulps a shot of gin while a small child gamely hands an empty bottle up to the barman. The sketch ran with this commentary: Plymouth Gin still house, 1906. Kenny Meadows, ‘The Dram Drinker’, from

government. In 1892, a bill instigated by Dr Jayne, the bishop of Chester, was placed before Parliament. Jayne suggested a model for Temperance based on the successful Swedish Gothenburg system, which increased state control and discouraged the sale of liquor. If the system were put into play, Jayne said, ‘the mere drink shop, the gin palace, and “the bar” – that pernicious incentive for drinking for drinking’s sake – would be utterly abolished.’ The bill did not pass, perhaps because many people

the still after the first distillation of fermented mash. The draff was used to fatten up cattle and the grain brandy produced, though usually not flavoured with juniper, was still loosely, if not quite correctly, referred to as genever. Even in the present day, some eastern Flemish genevers do not contain juniper. In the nineteenth century, genever production was at its height thanks to the Industrial Revolution and a Frenchman by the name of Jean-Baptiste Cellier Blumenthal. In 1813, Cellier

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