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Gin and London have shared a long and spirited history, one that can be traced all the way back to the 1600s. We celebrate the origins of Gin and the London distillers who helped put it on the map. Like many of Britain’s national favourites, Gin did not originate on our shores. In fact, if you don’t count the Italian monks who are thought to have used juniper berries as flavourings in distilled spirits back in the 11th century, it’s Holland that’s credited as the birthplace of gin.
From medicine to Dutch Courage. A Dutch physician who went by the name of Franciscus Sylvius is thought to be the ‘inventor’ of Gin having started prescribing a juniper-based distilled spirit for medicinal purposes in 1550. The English first got their hands on the spirit while fighting Spain in Holland during the Thirty Years’ War, where they drank it to calm their nerves before going into battle. Yes, that’s right. Gin is the original ‘Dutch Courage’. And, when the soldiers returned home, they took their newly found favourite spirit with them, of course, and they never looked back.
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