Gin Snippets – from juniper to gin


Ever wondered where gin originated, or why it’s become so popular? Here are some facts and widely held beliefs:

Latin: juniperus – Dutch: jenever – French: genièvre – Old English: genever – Modern English: gin.  So, we can conclude gin is called gin thanks to the humble juniper berry!

In the British tropical colonies, carbonated water and gin were added to mask the bitter taste of quinine, the only effective protection against malaria; this mixture came to be called Gin and Tonic.

There are 67 species of juniper berry, which come from the Cyprus plant family, many of which are too bitter to eat.  The distinctive flavour of gin comes from theconesof just a handful of juniper species, especially Juniperus communis.

Gin is made from juniper berries, which some refer to as “super berries,” as they help fight infection.

“Juniper’s antioxidants content boosts the body’s regenerating cells for smoother skin – so don’t just drink your gin; use it instead of your anti-wrinkle cream!”

Gin was only discovered by the English while fighting alongside the gin-drinking Dutch against the Spanish in the Thirty Years’ War of the 1600s.  It was supped before battle to provide much needed ‘Dutch Courage.’

Many say the Dutch physician Franciscus Sylvius invented gin in the 17thcentury – others will tell you it was Italian Monks in the 11thcentury, who used juniper berries as part of the distillation process.

Juniper berries contain flavonoids,which help prevent heart disease and improve blood circulation as we get older.

Junpier berries are the female seed cones produced by all species of junipers. They aren’t really berries, but are cones formed by fleshy and joined together scales, which present the berry-like appearance.

Gin helps to relieve aching joints and gout, while its alcohol content and the fact that its contains juniper berries is said to be an effective treatment for chronic pain and inflammation, especially arthritis.

Thanks to and Hendrick’s for this interesting video on the history of gin.