Whether you're a leisurely G&T sipper or a serious gin connoisseur, there's probably some things about gin you've always just accepted as true. But does gin really have to taste like juniper? And are Brits actually the biggest gin-guzzlers out there? We've decided to take a closer look and debunk some of the biggest myths surrounding good ol' Mother's Ruin.
1. Gin is a British thing
London Dry Gin may have first been invented in Old Blighty, and some of the biggest names in gin - like Gordon and Beefeater - may hail from the UK, but when it comes down to the gin-loving facts the Brits don't come close. Out of countries that love to treat themselves to the tipple, it's the Philippines which consumes the largest amounts of gin annually. As for its origins? Gin itself was actually created by Dutch physicians in the mid-1800s for medicinal purposes, and became popular for its abilities to inspire 'Dutch Courage' within soldiers at war.
2. Gin tastes just like juniper
It's true that gin, in order to even be classified as such, has to contain these little berries. However, it's definitely NOT true that gin only tastes like them. In fact, one of the most wonderful things about our booze of choice is the fact that it can be distilled with loads of different botanicals to create unique flavour profiles that a lot of other spirits just can't do. The Botanist Gin, for example, has a whopping 31 botanicals - what other drink can say that?
3. Gin is a tear-jerker
Every drink out there seems to have some strange reputation - tequila gets you crazy, wine makes you sleepy, whiskey incites aggression and gin gets the tears flowing. The truth is, alcohol is alcohol and usually its effects on your body will depend on how much you drink, how fast you drink and the inherent properties of alcohol itself. When it comes to the boozy boohoos, gin won't make you any sadder than other drinks - alcohol is a depressant and so the chances of feeling blue and shedding a tear are just as likely with any other tipsy tipple.
4. A G&T a day keeps malaria away
Unfortunately, your cocktail of choice won't do much to keep the mozzies away. This myth is hinged upon the fact that the drink was originally drunk by British officers in colonial India in order to make their daily dose of anti-malarial medicine more palatable. After mixing their medicinal quinine with sugar, lime, soda and gin, the medicine went straight down! Today tonic water is made with relatively low levels of quinine, and you'd have to drink about 5L to get the same medicinal effects (and if you're drinking that many G&Ts you'll have bigger problems than malaria to worry about!).
5. Shaking gin 'bruises' it
This one is kind of true, but not in the way you'd think. 'Bruising' is a term that often comes up when Martinis are being made, and it refers to the slightly bittering that a gin takes on when it's shaken, not stirred. While gin connoisseurs may argue for ages about this, there's no scientific proof to back it up. However, a few other things can happen in the shaker that may affect the taste of your drink. Firstly, shaking often makes ice melt faster which can dilute the drink and make it weaker. Secondly, the appearance of gin can become much more cloudy when it's shaken instead of stirred. And lastly, the tiny shards ice that break off during shaking can ruin the texture of the cocktail. In the end, it's a personal preference how you enjoy your drinks and as long as it suits your palate that's all that matters!