26November2022

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Impact of the Decision To Leave the EU

Impact of the Decision To Leave the EU

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Wild Things - Juniper

 

Gin actually gets its name from the Dutch jenever or the Old French genievre, based in turn on the Latin juniperus, meaning juniper. Juniper berries provide the bitter, resinlike quality unique to the spirit. This flavour comes from the pinene molecule – a strong smelling monoterpene (volatile organic compound) that also gives pine tree resin its distinctive scent. A host of other botanical flavourings all lend their own qualities to the final tipple, including almond, angelica, liquorice, lemon, cardamom and coriander. 

It was the Dutch who invented gin as we know it today – a grain spirit re-distilled with various flavourings. Large-scale production of gin was underway in Holland by the seventeenth century and its calming effect on Dutch troops during the Thirty Years' War (161848) led to the phrase 'Dutch courage'.

Gin production in England increased around the same time, after the government allowed its unlicensed production, leading to the spirit's reputation in the eighteenth century as 'Mother's ruin', a social problem graphically portrayed in William Hogarth's satire of drunkards in Gin Lane (1751).

In the nineteenth century, juniper was abundant enough in the Scottish Highlands for its berries to be collected by locals and for a whole industry to be born. Bagfuls were taken to the Inverness and Aberdeen markets from where they were exported to the Dutch gin distillers.

Unfortunately, the Scottish industry has since disappeared. Today, most of the juniper berries now used to flavour the gin produced in the British Isles come from Europe, especially Italy and countries of the former Yugoslavia. Some experts say that juniper berries grown in warm climates produce sweeter-tasting oils, which provide the key ingredients in the taste of gin.

Source: Wild Things - Juniper