10 Facts About Gin You Didn’t Already Know

Large letters with photos to spell gin

Is there anything you don’t already know about gin? I have listed ten impressive and interesting facts about gin that I hope may surprise you. You can use these snippets to impress your friends on World Gin Day on the 12th June.

1 Juniper berry is not a berry.

The juniper berry is more like a small pinecone than a fruit. The cone of the juniper is the part that is referred to as the berry.

2 The Philippines is the world’s largest gin market.

They consume over 22 million cases of gin a year in the Philippines, which is mostly domestically produced. Philippine gin accounts around 43% of the global gin market.

There is a word, that translates into every Filipino dialect, inuman, which means a drinking session. Now that gin is so popular they have started to use the word ginuman to describe their gin drinking sessions.

3 70% of gin produced in the UK comes from Scotland.

There are nearly a hundred gin distilleries in Scotland, including some of the most popular gin brands in the world, hence the high production level.

Scottish gin bottles
Credit: The Gin Cooperative

4 Hendrick’s Gin Distillery (aka Gin Palace) has two greenhouses.

Their greenhouses have some weird and wonderful plants and flowers from around the world. One has a tropical climate and the other a Mediterranean one. In fact, the latest Lunar Gin gets its inspiration from the nightly scents in their botanical gardens.

5 The best way to sample gins side by side is to mix them with an equal measure of water.

When you are comparing gins, it is recommended to dilute them with an equal measure of water. This will expose both the qualities and the flaws.

6 The name Old Tom didn’t come from the black cat plaques.

Old Tom Gin is likely to be named after Thomas Chamberlain, a gin maker whose compound gin was extremely popular. His customers were asking for Old Tom’s gin and eventually other retailers adapted the term even if the gin was not made by Mr. Chamberlain.

A plaque shaped like a black cat decorated the outside walls of pubs in 18th-century England to show they were selling Old Tom gin. Underneath the paw was a slot and a lead pipe, which went inside the building. You’d drop a coin through the slot and receive a measure of gin in exchange.

There is also another version of the story about a cat who fell into a vat of gin…

Beyla raspberry and honey gin

7 Gin is English. Or Italian?

Gin is often said to have been born in Holland due to its comparison with genever. Genever (or jenver), however, was made from malted spirit and is closer to a whisky than a gin. The gin produced in London was a purer spirit. The quality of gin distillation improved when King Charles I formed the Worshipful Company of Distillers in 1638.

If you want to dig deeper into the roots of juniper spirits, this can be traced back to 11th-century Benedictine monks in Salerno. The monks used alembic stills to create alcoholic medicinal tonics, one of which was made from juniper-berry-infused wine.  

8 There are 503 Scottish gins available.

There are 170 Scottish gin brands, which together produced over 500 different gins. The number is constantly growing and it doesn’t include special hotel- or ‘house’ gins as these are hard to keep track of.

9 Winston Churchill’s drinking bone-dry Martinis wasn’t a choice.

The story goes that Churchill would make his Martini bone dry and simply bow towards France. But it wasn’t necessarily the case that he didn’t like to use vermouth in a Martini, but that vermouth was simply not available. During WWII there was a shortage of both Italian and French vermouths. As to whether the story is fully true, who really cares? The story makes the drink taste better.

Inka in a gin bar

10 There are more classic cocktails made with gin than any other spirit.

Martini, Negroni, Clover Club, French 75, Bee’s Knees, Tom Collins, White Lady, Martinez…. The list is endless.

Plus, a bonus fact: There is no such thing as non-alcoholic gin. According to EU and UK regulations, gin must NOT be below 37.5% ABV to qualify as a gin.

Did you learn anything new? Do you have any other unique facts about gin?

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