Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Gin Lifestyle

Gin has been associated with old women for a while in my opinion. Mothers, doctors, and protectors are the ones who drink gin. Gin in this day and age has a fairly distinct flavor, especially to the young drinker. It's nothing too revolutionary. This may be an oversimplification, but it's essentially it is just the original vodka infusion, flavored with juniper and assorted other botanical notes. The flavors and process are what give it these associations in my view.

Botanicals are often used as medicines and remedies. Coriander, cassia bark, angelica, licorice, grains of paradise are all common flavoring agents of gin. Coriander helps with a variety of digestive issues and can ease joint pain. Cassia cinnamon lowers blood sugar, helps with nausea, and some people use it for sexual aid. Angelica is used to help circulation and increases appetite. Licorice eases sore throats and coughs. Juniper, the dominant flavoring component of most gin is used as medicine to treat digestive health, cure urinary tract infections, and help with kidney stones. Of course, alcohol itself is used for a variety of medical issues. Doctors to this day recommend a bit of wine to help the heart. There was a case I heard of a man who was prescribed a bottle of whisky (Johnie Walker Black Label) to cure his blindness caused by formaldehyde poisoning. The article can be found
here. Ethyl alcohol is used all over, and in some developing nations, they improvise and use it to fight a lot of poisons and bacteria.

The quintessential gin cocktail is the gin and tonic. Tonic, of course, is synonymous with medicine. The cocktail was introduced by the British navy to help fight malaria which was prevalent around India. The typical lime garnish was also a common cure for scurvy.

Gin has something of a dry, bitter flavor. You may not associate any particular alcohol with medicine and I urge you to change your thoughts on this. In fairness, alcohol is a poison. But we use chemotherapy as a treatment and that is really just a poison fighting another poison. Alcohol is the same way. Gin is the greatest example of this, alcohol blended with a variety of other medicines. It's oldest history goes to a dutch physician who knew that juniper drinks were already being used by patients to calm nerves and settle stomachs. 

This is going to be a part of a series I'm doing about how different spirits appeal to different cultures and personalities. Check out my other posts on Rum, Tequila, Whisky, and other liquors and liqueurs. Much of what I'm posting has been opinion, much of it generalized and is not meant to be thought of as fact.

No quote today but enjoy this video: https://youtu.be/wDIiPIJmXcE

Photo Credit: Pikrepo

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