A new generation of millennials have well and truly helped to put the popular spirit back on the shelf, and it looks to stay there for yet another year! Gin sales have exploded and figures for the last few months show no signs of slowing, with predictions that sales will exceed the £1bn mark in 2017. A winner in both traditional pubs and on trend ‘gin palaces’, it is a drink, alongside sparkling wine, that seems to be very much of the moment.
Centred on the ingredient of juniper, the mixture of the remaining botanicals in the recipe can give each gin a distinct taste and aroma. The fashion has been driven by the new craze of ‘boutique distilleries’ – in recent years the number of gin distilleries have more than doubled, peaking in 2015 when 49 opened in just one year. The success of these modern micro-distilleries comes from working with old recipes and traditional techniques to produce new and exciting products.
As we enter into another year of gin frivolity, new twists are cropping up, with a focus on provenance, flavoured gin and aged gin. The drinking vessel has also become important to the gin experience – allowing maximum nose! Balloon glasses allow for fuller appreciation of the aromas, making for a sense sensation with the skinny stem keeping your drink untouched and cool.
Here in Devon the most popular brands have proven to be Tarquin’s gin, Exmoor gin, Conker and Curio with newer brands such as Salcombe putting up a good fight to join the high flyers.
LWC are preparing to take the local gin scene by storm with the launch of its very own exclusive brand of gin. With a passion for craft gins, Nic Ponticakis, Manager of the South West depot, has driven the project through from conception to reality and, although the recipe is very much under wraps in testing phase, we hope to see this new brand available on the market later this year.
Gin takes its name from the Dutch word for juniper – genever. But that’s not the only connection to the Dutch. Ever heard of the saying ‘Dutch courage’? One of the theories of the origin of this saying comes from the ‘30 Years War’, when British soldiers were fighting on Dutch land and they were bolstered with ‘Dutch courage’, i.e. they drank loads of gin! It was towards the end of the 17th century when across English Channel, gin was discovered in a big way, with many London households making their own. This became known as the ‘The Gin Craze’, an era which saw extreme overconsumption and caused Parliament to put laws into place over the course of 22 years, in an attempt to reduce levels of gin being drunk by society. Also known as ‘Mother’s Ruin’ or ‘Madam Geneva’ caused much public concern throughout the 17th and 18th century.
Popularity continued as society discovered new uses for the liquor. Soldiers and those living in colonial lands used it to mask the unpleasant flavour of anti-malarial medicine – this developed into today’s much-loved Gin & Tonic. Which brings us to the modern era which sees a resurgence in gin popularity, used now by mixologists to form cocktails or to be enjoyed neat or on the rocks. There are many varieties to choose from but some mainstream gins date back hundreds of years such as Plymouth gin while Pothecary Blended Gin Dorset is one of the newest on the market.