By Neelima Agrawal
Not so long ago, in about 2009, a gin connoisseur Neil Houston, along with Gin expert Emma Stokes, decided to declare the second Saturday of June as the World Gin Day. So what does one do on World Gin Day? Make it the right excuse to round up family and friends and spend a gin soaked evening. Any other day is just as good too.
Seriously, one does not really have to delve into the history of a good drink, so long as it goes down smoothly and livens up the evening in the aftermath. Yet, just FYI, this Juniper flavored drink has quite a history. In modern day legalese, the European Union has officially differentiated gin into four categories, all with the minimum bottled strength 37.5% ABV.
i) Juniper-flavoured spirit drinks, also sold under the names Wacholder or Ginebra.
ii) Gin, a juniper-flavoured spirit made by simply adding approved natural flavouring substances, predominantly Juniper, to a neutral spirit of agricultural origin.
iii) Distilled gin produced exclusively by re-distilling ethanol of agricultural origin with an initial strength of 96% ABV in the presence of juniper berries and of other natural botanicals, provided that the juniper taste is predominant.
iv) London Gin or Dry Gin may not contain added sweetening exceeding 0.1 grams of sugars per litre of the final product, nor colourants, nor any added ingredients other than water. The predominant flavour must be juniper.
Before all these regulations and streamlining, Gin started out as a medicinal liquor in the monasteries of Europe. The Dutch and Flemish used other additives like anise, caraway, coriander etc besides juniper, and sold it in the pharmacies, the English drank Gin with tonic water or quinine water in the tropical colonies to ward off malaria. The soldiers drank it to sooth their nerves before marching into battle, which came to be known as ‘Dutch Courage’. It also helped reduce the population of a surging London in the late 17th Century, when England delicensed the distilling of gin, as this lead to Gin becoming a poor man’s drink, with distilleries in every home. Conditions like those depicted in this painting, Gin Lane, made by English artist William Hogarth in 1751, lead to the imposition of the Gin Act in England. The terminology ‘Gin Soaked’ and ‘Gin Joints’is a throwback to this era of poor disreputable bars.
We bring you three gin-based cocktails, made with Beefeater Dry Gin, which are just right for the summer days.
Glass–Collins/ High ball
- 60 ml Beefeater dry gin
- 60 ml mango puree
- 25 ml lemon juice
- Soda to top
To Garnish – 1 Fresh mango/ orange wedge
- Shake the gin, mango puree and lemon juice in a shaker with ice
- Pour into a tall glass filled with ice
- Top with soda, stir and garnish with fresh mango
Glass – Collins /High ball
- 60ml Beefeater London Dry Gin
- 30 ml pineapple juice
- 10 ml lemon juice
- Top with tonic water
To Garnish – 1 wedge fresh pineapple
- Fill a tall glass with ice
- Pour the gin, lemon juice and pineapple juice over the ice and stir briefly
- Top with tonic water, stir and garnish with fresh pineapple
BEEFEATER & IT
Glass – Old fashioned/ rocks/ whisky glass
- 45 ml Beefeater London Dry Gin
- 30 ml Martini Rosso/ sweet vermouth
- 1 dash orange bitters/ bitters
To Garnish- Orange peel/ orange half moon
- Stir all the ingredients with ice
- Strain into a chilled old fashioned glass filled with ice
- Garnish with orange peel or half a moon