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The Gin Club

By admin | August 24, 2011

Photo: Pedro Moura Pinheiro

By: Dylan Rodgers

One of the most important questions in life is one that perplexes people into near-violent arguments of which alcohol is better-gin or vodka?  Juice with gin tastes like a cocktail, while juice with vodka just tastes like liquid fruit that goes straight to your brain.  Gin’s robust flavor may limit its following in some regard (people who praise the lack of taste), but because its flavors are so distinct, gin-drinkers love it for what it is rather than what it’s not.

Similar to Aquavit, gin is traditionally flavored with juniper oil and citrus botanicals, giving it its distinct flavor.  Then various other ingredients are artfully added to its virtually flavorless original state making each gin recipe unique.  Combinations of lemon peel, bitter orange peel, angelica root, licorice root, almond, dragon eye, cassia bark, and other ingredients are common additives in London dry gin.  Hendrick’s gin, for those you interested in a juniperless flavor, is made with cucumbers and rose petals, lacking that intense aroma of evergreen berries.

Over-the-Counter ‘Ginedicine’

Invented sometime around 1650 by Dr. Franciscus Sylvuis, the Professor of Medicine at Leyden, Holland, gin was originally intended as a medicinal remedy for kidney disorders and the Black Death, both of which it had no effect on aside from calming the those sad souls.  In fact, alcohol of any kind impedes the kidneys from performing their necessary functions.  Nevertheless gin was born.

Later on deep in the East, doctors discovered that quinine, an ingredient in tonic water, could be used to get treat of malaria.  The only problem was that the British malaria victims seemed to rather deal with malaria than with the awful taste of tonic water.  Some genius doctor added gin to the tonic, thus saving his British brethren from a terrible condition and creating one of the most popular drinks to this day.

Conclusion

Gin is not for everyone, and I don’t think it ever wanted to be.  It proudly represents its bold self without hiding underneath other flavors.  The gin and tonic has been literally the same since the 17th Century.  In fact, the only changes made to that classic drink have been adding different garnishes, a strong testament to the overall drinkability.  There is no doubt that 300 years in the future, gin will be pretty similar to what it is now, the same as it has been for centuries.

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