The Book of Gin:
A Spirited History from Alchemists’ Stills and
Colonial Outposts to Gin Palaces, Bathtub Gin and Artisinal Cocktails.
By Richard Barnett
Definitely a book for the gin buff, rather than just a pleasure read and let’s face it, Gin has a juicy past, with lots of little gems to help spice up your bar banter. Gin has been a drink of kings infused with crushed pearls and a drink of the poor flavored with turpentine and sulfuric acid. Born in alchemists’ stills and monastery kitchens, its earliest incarnations were juniper flavoured medicines used to prevent plague, ease the pains of childbirth and treat a lack of courage. If you’re interested in the period of social upheaval that gin brought to England then you will then you’ll like the lowdown this period of ruin. Gin was said to lead to prostitution, poverty and worse. Horror stories circulated, like the one about the woman who became so sodden that “she fell on the fire, and was burned in so miserable a manner, that she immediately died and her bowels came out.” Interesting stuff.