Gin is a spirit with a long and interesting history. It is believed to have originated in Holland in the 16th century, where it was first used for medicinal purposes. However, it wasn’t until the eighteenth century that gin gained popularity in England, where it was called “mother’s ruin” due to its reputation for causing drunkenness and social problems.
Despite its early association with negative social effects, gin eventually became a popular base for cocktails such as the classic gin & tonic. Today, gin-based cocktails are enjoyed worldwide and have played a crucial role in the evolution of mixology.
To find out more about the history of gin-based cocktails and their evolution, read the following section.
The Early Days of Gin-based Cocktails: The first recorded gin-based cocktail is the Gin Sling, popular in the American colonies in the late 18th century. It was made with water, sugar, gin, and nutmeg and was often served hot. Other early gin-based cocktails included the Gin Toddy and the Gin Fizz, similar to the Gin Sling but served cold.
During the 19th century, gin-based cocktails became more sophisticated, and bartenders began experimenting with new ingredients and techniques. The Martinez, a precursor to the modern-day Martini, was created in the 1860s and included gin, vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and bitters. The Tom Collins, a refreshing and tart cocktail made with lemon juice, sugar, gin and soda water, was also popular during this time.
Gin-based Cocktails in the 20th Century: Early in the 20th century, bartenders experimented with new ingredients and methods as gin-based drinks continued to develop.
During this time, many classic gin-based cocktails were invented, including the Negroni, which was created in Italy in the 1920s and included gin, vermouth, and Campari; the Corpse Reviver #2, which was invented in the early 20th century and includes gin, lemon juice, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, and a dash of absinthe; and the Gimlet, which was invented in the 1920s and includes gin and lime juice.
The Gin Renaissance: The popularity of gin-based cocktails waned in the mid-20th century as other spirits like vodka and whiskey became more popular. However, in the early 21st century, gin experienced a renaissance, with bartenders and mixologists rediscovering the spirit’s versatility and unique flavour profile.
This renaissance was driven in part by the emergence of craft distilleries, which began producing high-quality gin using a wide range of botanicals and flavourings. Today, there are hundreds of different gin brands and styles available, each with its own unique flavour profile and character.
Popular Gin-based Cocktails Today: Today, gin-based cocktails are more popular than ever and can be found on menus at bars and restaurants all around the world. Some of the most popular gin-based cocktails today include:
- The Gin and Tonic: A classic and refreshing cocktail made with gin & tonic water, served over ice and adorned with a slice of lime.
- The Martini: A classic cocktail made with dry vermouth and gin, often garnished with an olive or a twist of lemon peel.
- The Negroni: A bittersweet cocktail made with vermouth, gin, and Campari, often served over ice with a slice of orange.
- The Tom Collins: A refreshing cocktail made with lemon juice, gin, sugar, and soda water, often enhanced with a cherry and a slice of orange.
- The French 75: A sparkling cocktail made with lemon juice, sugar, gin, and Champagne or sparkling wine, often garnished with a lemon twist.
The history of gin-based cocktails is a long and fascinating one, spanning several centuries and multiple continents. From the early days of the Gin Sling to the modern-day creations of today’s mixologists, gin-based cocktails have played an important role in the evolution of mixology and continue to be enjoyed by cocktail lovers around the world. Mill Keeper, with its complex and rich flavors, has also been used in many classic and contemporary cocktails, adding depth and sophistication to the drink.