Let us begin with the wonderful journey of Gin…
Its English heritage tells the story of British aristocracy, class warfare, technological innovation, the maritime industry. From pharmacies and the navy, to antioxidants, and even scurvy there is so much to discover.
The English soldiers were sent by Queen Elizabeth 1of England to help predominately Protestant Dutch revolt against Philip of the Spain and their Spanish Catholic rulers. In 1618 the low countries once again became the battlefields of Europe, France, England, Spain fought the thirty years war which would last until 1648. English troops fighting wars discovered jenever and returned home with the tales of the spirit that gave the Dutch courage
Gin or Gen – 16th century
In the 16th century the Dutch began producing a spirit called Genever. It essentially consisted of a malt wine base and a healthy amount of juniper berries. It was, of course, a “medicinal” liquid. By the 1700s it had taken on its new form Gin. The British were too drunk to pronounce Genever, so they abbreviated the word to ‘gen,’ which eventually gets anglicized to the word that we use today, Gin.
The Gin craze
The late 1600s were pivotal for the upswing of gin in England, and not in a good way. William III of England, a Dutchman originally known as William of Orange. At the start of his reign, he instituted The Corn Laws in England. These decrees provided tax breaks on spirits production, resulting in what was called “a distilling free-for-all.” This led to a period in England that is often dubbed the ‘Gin Craze,’ a period where a pint of gin was cheaper than a pint of beer. Sounds like a dream. Sure. But with it came a new set of problems.
Gunpowder please- The birth of Navy strength Gin -18th century
Along those lines, does the term “Navy strength” ring a bell? You may well have tried a Navy Strength variety of your favorite gin. Besides enjoying a good gimlet, the navy is said to have used gunpowder to ensure the gin they were receiving was high quality at 100 degrees proof which we now know was 57% abv. The gin would be poured onto gunpowder, and the strength confirmed by seeing how well it lit. Now that’s some serious standards!
The soldier’s elixir -1825
Gin remained popular with the Brits, notable for its use by soldiers and colonials living in lands prone to malaria infections. Gin was excellent at masking the unpleasant, bitter flavor of the antimalarial alkaloid quinine found in tonic. This medical elixir developed into the Gin & Tonic we know and love to this day. Limes were added due to their anti-scurvy properties. Cordials were made to preserve the limes, and a lime cordial and gin were inevitably combined (hello, Gimlet).
Prohibition & Bathtub Gin and the birth of the phrase “blind drunk” – 17 January 1920 – 5 December 1933
Prohibition due to vendors not being able to obtain high quality ingredients. Many amateurs began producing liquor, resulting in bathtub gin. It was called bathtub gin because it was made in a tall bottle so tall, in fact, that it could not be topped off with water in the sink. Many people filled it up in the bathtub for this reason, and that’s how it got its name!Unfortunately, it had dangerous side effects caused by methanol content causing blindness or even death. This led to the birth of the phrase ‘blind drunk’.
The Gin Road to Redemption-1830
In 1830, things finally started looking up for England’s gin scene. A French-born Irishman named Aeneas Coffey introduced a new still that modified the existing continuous column still and essentially revolutionized liquor production around the world. Gin producers quickly embraced it, celebrating its capability to produce a much cleaner, purer spirit than ever before. Out with the sawdust-infused gin, and in with the crystalline elixir.
Extraordinary Gin Facts
The juniper berry is not actually a berry
A juniper berry is a type of seed cone picked from the wild, with unique fleshy and merged scales which gives it the appearance of a berry. What’s more, during the plague years doctors wore masks containing juniper berries as they believed the disease spread was spread by bad odors.
Your waistline will thank you
If you’re watching your waistline but don’t want to give up the cocktails, try a gin and tonic or soda. Amongst the lowest caloric cocktail, a Gin and tonic is around 120 calories. Better still the juniper serries are loaded with antioxidant, effective in fighting infection, aiding digestion, and relieving bloating. A glass of gin might be just what the doctor ordered!
“A dead ringer” “Saved by the bell” “The graveyard shift”
In any event, to prevent deaths by burial, a string would supposedly be attached to the finger of the person presumed dead, and it was attached to a bell on the other end above ground. When the person moved, the bell would ring. The story goes that there was always a person at the graveyard at night who was listening for the dead ringers to pull on the bells so that they could save them.
Gin was almost endangered
Juniper is also a fragile species. For several years, up until quite recently, gin lovers across the UK were given a fright. It was reported that a widespread fungus was attacking juniper berries, and hikers and foragers were asked to report sightings of the trees to assess the damage. However, as of early 2017, experts report that millions of seeds have been “banked” and that the future of gin is secure.
You can find Providence Gin at 9 Watergate Street, Chester, CH1 2LB.
Gods Providence “God’s caring provision for his people as he guides them in their journey of faith through life, accomplishing his purpose in them.
Our mission at Providence Gin is to show case all the amazing Gins that have been distilled for many years dating back as far as the 16th century along with the new world gins we enjoy today. We would like to take you on a journey providing you with history and all the fun fact of how Gin was first produced in bathtubs to current day in beautiful hand-crafted copper stills.
We are devoted in finding your favourite Gin and paring, with our passion and know how we would like to take you back in time with our bespoke cocktails that have been selected to honor the different eras of Gin and its extensive journey.
The original building on the site was constructed in the 13th century but the present house was built in 1652. During the 19th century its owners wanted to demolish it but around this time the Chester and North Wales Architectural, Archaeological and Historical Society were campaigning against the loss of ancient buildings in the city. The owners agreed to a timber replacement of the building which was carried out by James Harrison in 1862. He incorporated some of the timberwork from the original house and designed a larger and more elaborate building.
The name of the house is reputed to come from its being the only house to have escaped the outbreak of plague in 1647–48 which killed 2,000 people in the city.
Experience Providence Gin at Christmas