Ever since juniper got involved with alcohol -- we're talking 11th century, here -- gin has been soaking hearts and minds, high and low. It was once administered as a cure for the plague; its taxation caused riots in the streets of London. It has been the fuel of armies and navies, the lifeblood of gangsters and gamblers, and the center stripe of the world's most iconic cocktails. Say what you will about all other spirits: Gin is what we talk about when we talk about booze.
So break out your g&t, get "Gin and Juice" stuck in your head, and soak up our favorite trivia about one of life's most enduring liquors.
1.) You can thank a Dutch doctor for that martini -- a physician named Franciscus Sylvius is gin's formally recognized inventor.
2.) Gin is a neutral spirit flavored principally with juniper, as well as a blend of botanicals that can include anise, caraway, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange or lemon peel.
3.) It was also once regularly flavored with turpentine.
4.) Throughout the 1600s, gin was proffered as a cure for everything from gallstones to gout.
5.) By the late 1680's, the Dutch exported 10 million gallons of gin per year; British soldiers referred to it as "Dutch Courage."
6.) During the early 1800s, gin was so popular in London it was deemed a full-on craze; fears of an increase in gin-fueled crime helped the passage of the Gin Acts, which sought to curb the availability of the spirit that would soon be nicknamed "Mother's Ruin."
7.) The "gin and tonic" combo was born as an anti-malarial medicine. Quinine -- a component of tonic water -- helped stave off malaria; gin helped mask the bitter flavors of the tonic water. Voila.
8.) Snoop's "Gin and Juice" was nominated for a Best Rap Solo Performance Grammy in 1995, but was beat out by Queen Latifah's "U.N.I.T.Y."