The Methodical History of Gin

This started as a reference to another project. And now here we are knees deep in juniper berries. The goal of this article is a reference for anyone who might need it.



Pedanius Dioscoriedes (c.AD40-c.90)

traveled with the armies of the Roman Emperor Nero. During this time he assembles and releases a five volume Encyclopedia De Materia Medicia in volume three he mentions all manner of herbs. Juniper see its first documented contact with know as Medicine. Thank you doctor. This Tome of remedies would be referenced as an authoritative guide for 16 centuries.



It takes a few centuries (but whats that really in the whole scope of things) A group of Benedictine Monks in Salerno write Compendium Solernita. Here we get our first medicinal cocktail. It calls for Tonic Wine and an infusion of Juniper berries...Yum

This is a beautiful picture of what the Great School of Salerno could do. Lots of boats.


For a while Juniper sees continued applications. The Bubonic plague also known as the Black Death is carried around by rodents and terrorizes Europe for a couple of centuries. Juniper berries are touted as the cure.



A gentleman stumbles upon a continent. More importantly to our timeline however records of the Dutch producing significant quantities of Brandewijn (burnt wine) It doesn't taste great so somewhere along the line some fellow gets the idea to throw berries into the burnt wine. Very wise.


The Dutch have levy taxes on Jenever and similar "alcoholic drinks" There wasn't much else to do besides take over all the trade routes in the world and drink. In fact it is estimated that nearly two thirds of Dutch painting from this century show scenes of people drinking.

Willem Pietersz. Buytewech,Merry Company, c. 1620


Three Wars between the British and Dutch over trade and the American colonies are fought.

During these wars the British would have witnessed their adversaries reaching for a flask on their belts and draining its contents. Bolstered by Jenever they would charge. The Brits, always in love with turning a phrase coined it "Dutch Courage"



The Glorious Revolution

From careful marriage, and religious zealotry and high-jinx the Dutchman William of Orange is crowned Britain's new King. He brings his Protestantism and his Jenever along for the ride. For more details on his life

Early 1700's


In London the fervor for this new spirit took a nasty turn. Not to worry a silver lining emerges "the Distillers have found out a way to hit the palate of the Poor, by their new fashion'd compound Waters called Geneva, so that the common People seem not to value the French-brandy as usual, and even not to desire it"

Said Daniel Defoe, in A Brief Case of the Distillers and of the Distilling Trade in England (1726)

The English were wasting away in Vice and cheaply made tub gin. Something had to be done.

1729, 1736, 1743, 1747 and 1751

Parliament passed five major Acts to curtail the destruction of GIn

During this time Parliament sought to curtail the rampant destruction that the abuse of gin was creating. In 1736 retail sales were taxed (at 20 shillings a gallon). If you wanted to sell it you needed to buy a 50 pound silence. To much for many illegal gin was found throughout England . In illegal gins, juniper was left out and turpentine and sulfuric acid added. The madness continued, it took the works of William Hogarth and others like him to expose the situation for what it was.

In 1751 only licensed retailers could sell gin. The production of dry gin begins.


Aeneas Coffey, a french Irishman, Invents the Coffey Still revolutionizing distillation, and ushering in a new age of Spirits Creation.

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