Want the truth about gin? Well, don’t trust everything you read in the history books. For as long as it has existed, gin has attracted weird and wonderful claims. The Gin Kin is here to set the record straight on a few of them!
1: Gin makes you cry
A common belief is that different drinks will offer specific effects on the emotions. Tequila is said to unleash the inner rage, whilst gin is said to reduce the drinker to floods of tears. However, sticking to gin over wine probably isn’t the reason you felt a bit weepy at last year’s Christmas party.
In the end, all alcohol shares the active ingredient of ethanol and should have the same effect with the same concentration consumed. Some small research comparing the effects of different drinks has been done and there were no specific mood associations. That said, if you expect to feel sad with a particular drink from experience, you may be more prone to it – it just won’t be the gin’s fault!
2: Gin can deter mosquitos
The idea that gin can stave off mosquitos is a myth that still occasionally makes its rounds on the internet. Its origins comes from the mid-18th century, when the British army were in India. Gin and tonic was a favoured drink for the soldiers at the time, although it didn’t taste anything near as nice as our G&Ts today.
Back then, tonic water was highly bitter because it contained large quantities of quinine, which tasted horrible but had medicinal properties for treating malaria. Nowadays, in the interest of an enjoyable G&T, our tonic water has only a very small quantity of quinine to still lend a bitter taste without making the drinker gag. Gin itself has no effect against mosquitos and combined with tonic, the modern drink offers no tangible protection. Best to invest in some bug spray.
3: Gin was the first item used for product placement
We see product placement everywhere in films these days, from a lingering shot of Coca-Cola in the lead star’s hand to a fancy sports car with the logo clearly visible. One legendary example is in 1951 movie The African Queen, when trapped on a boat, Katharine Hepburn loses her patience with a drunken Humphrey Bogart and tips his considerable reserve of Gordon’s Gin overboard.
It’s such a well-known example of product placement that it’s often named as the first time a brand had paid to be featured in a movie. That isn’t quite the case however – product placement had been going on since around the early 1930s, as seen in a number of Marx Brothers movies. It may be the first example of gin being the subject of product placement, but it’s not the first ever example in Hollywood history.
4: Gin is an English spirit
The classic G&T is seen as an iconic English drink but, despite the common misconception, the spirit itself was not originally from the British Isles. It actually developed from a Dutch liqueur called Jenever, made with juniper, which was drunk by the army in Holland during the Thirty Years’ War.
Spying their opponents’ good taste and imbibed bravery, the English army not only took away the phrase ‘Dutch courage’ but they adopted the liqueur and developed it into gin. So this is a ‘sort of’ myth, as without Jenever we might have never had the G&Ts we enjoy today.
Do you know any other mythbusting gin facts? Let us know over on Twitter!