Cocktail of the Week: Sipping Gin and breast milk

Below is an excerpt from the July 2015 edition of GINNED! Magazine about the Dà Mhìle Distillery. Every month, Craft Gin Club Members receive a bottle of amazing small-batch gins accompanied by GINNED! Magazine which is full of information about the gin, the distillery and loads of fascinating features.

Managing a dairy farm that produces the most awarded cheese in the UK, John Savage-Onstwedder of the Glynhynod Farm and Dà Mhìle Distillery knows a thing or two about milk. So when he says that “Breast is best”, we should probably take heed.

John is not just digging up some old wives’ tale that children are better off growing up on their mother’s milk rather than laboratory-produced alternatives. There is plenty of scientific evidence to show that the short and long-term effects of breastfeeding improve the health of child and mother. The NHS’s recommendations for breastfeeding sum up these findings, recommending that babies exclusively consume their mother’s milk for the first six months of their lives. For the child, breastfeeding reduces instances of diarrhea and vomiting, eczema, ear and chest infections and makes it less likely that the child will develop type-2 diabetes later in life. Other studies have shown that breastfeeding raises children’s IQ and boosts their immune system.

For mum, suckling her children acts like a natural diet that burns 500 calories per day, helps build a psychological bond with the baby, and reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. All these benefits and breast milk is free!

So why does the primary and expensive substitute, formula, remain so pervasive? The World Health Organisation reports that 60% of new mothers around the globe continue to choose formula over breast milk and that breastfeeding rates have barely budged in recent decades. Most of it comes down to the marketing power of multinational corporations that produce baby formula, particularly Nestlé.

The Swiss food giant was slammed in the 1970s for what its detractors considered unfair practices in selling formula to unwitting parents in the developing world. The companies essentially created a need where there was none and made baby formula an aspirational product that poor parents longing for modernity viewed as a step towards Westernization. 

Junior's Gin: taking his milk neat and from the teat

Junior's Gin: taking his milk neat and from the teat

The results were disastrous. Because the formula was too expensive for mothers living well below the poverty line, they would dilute the formula with local water which, firstly, was unclean, and secondly prevented the baby’s ability to absorb any of the nutrients in the formula. Millions of babies died of malnutrition. Nestlé was sued for its actions and global guidelines on formula sales were written.

But the damage was done. Today, thanks to the efforts of companies like Nestlé, an inferior and infinitely more expensive product that barely existed a mere fifty years ago is a $11.5 billion (£7.31 billion) market, a market that continues to grow in developing nations. Perhaps in his retirement, John should travel to these nations, bringing samples of his cheese and educating mothers that his cheese tastes so good because it is made with raw milk, the same type of milk that those mothers produce naturally - and free of charge - for their children.  

Da Mhile Sipping Gin

  • 2 measures of Botanical or Seaweed Gin
  • Slice of lime or lemon
  • Ice

Method: Pour selected gin over ice. Garnish Botanical Gin with lime and Seaweed Gin with lemon.

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