The Five Biggest Gin Myths

Gin has gone through so many ups and downs over the last 400 years, it deserves its own reality show on Bravo. And just like the Kardashians, the liquor seems to engender a very passionate response—both positive and negative—from drinkers. To help end the drama, we enlisted Tanqueray Gin global brand ambassador Angus Winchester to assist us with debunking five of the biggest gin misconceptions. Cheers!

Gin is juniper-flavored.

While every gin needs to contain juniper, that’s not the only ingredient used to flavor the elixir. In fact, each brand selects its own signature mix of botanicals, which can include all sorts of things, from dried citrus peels and cardamom to licorice. Citadelle Gin uses 19 different botanicals, and Beefeater 24 Gin even calls for Chinese green tea.

Gin is a British thing.

Britain may be famous for its many gins, but the alcohol actually descends from a juniper liquor first distilled in Belgium or Holland. During the Thirty Years’ War, England’s army saw Dutch soldiers fortifying themselves for battle by drinking genever. They brought this so-called “Dutch courage” back home.

Gin makes you sad.

Some people swear that this is true. However, Winchester says, “there are no studies to prove gin makes you any more depressed than any other alcohol.” So, stop sulking and fix yourself a Negroni or a House-Made Clover Club.

Gin was the crack of 18th-century London.

William Hogarth’s 1751 engraving Gin Lane, which portrays a range of depraved characters (and its companion, Beer Street, full of happy, healthy and industrious folk), is often held up as proof of the spirit’s deleterious effects upon English society. Winchester says the picture isn’t actually accurate and is an example of anti-gin propaganda distributed by the aristocracy—and beer brewers.

Genever is a type of gin.

We hear this one quite often, but Winchester says it’s false. The Dutch genever “may have inspired the English to make gin, but the two are very different liquids,” he insists. For one thing, genever is generally barrel-aged and has a maltier taste that’s more like whiskey.

Learn more about gin and get lots more cocktail recipes in our gin guide.

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Comments

  1. james gardner says

    LOVE GIN. HERE’S ONE: PARADISO: 11/2OZ TANQUERAY IN A COLLINS GLASS NEXT IN A BLENDER 3 LARGE STRAWBERRYS, 1 LARGE PITTED PEACH 1 CUP OJ 1CUP ICE BLEND GARNISH WITH LEMON SLICE
    ENJOY

  2. bill marsano says

    A brand ambassador is a person whose primary responsibility is to speak well of his sponsor, so I suppose Ambassador is entitled or required to talk through his hat. Genever, however different from London Dry Gin, is the original gin, which the Brits took up and modified greatly, much to the benefit of the world’s drinking population. Genever is aged–so what? Anejo is aged too–is it not Tequila? As for gin not being 18th Cy crack, this is mostly nonsense. A couple of recent books (Patrick Dillon’s ‘The Much-Lamented Death of Madam Geneva: The Eighteenth-Century Gin Craze” and Jessica Warner’s ‘Craze: Gin and Debauchery in the Age of Reason’ for example) will suffice to set everyone straight on that.

  3. Erwin van den Bulk says

    Remember genever (jenever) isn’t requierd to be barrel-aged. It happens, but not by all brands and not nearly as long as whiskys, (so in tequilla terms, more reprosado than anejo).
    Another thing to keep in mind is that Old Genever (Oude Jenever) really isn’t older than Young Genever (Jonge Jenever) but is made with a higher percentage of maltwine and less neutral alcohol. Some Old Genever or Corenwijn is barrel-aged, but than it would say so on the bottle (like Bokma 5 jaren, Rutten 12 jaar oud, Bols Corenwijn 4 y/o or 6y/o etc.)

  4. Veronique says

    Glad to read that genever is not a gin. The production process of gin and genever, while sharing much common ground, are still quite different. Genever is a distinct spirit category with unique flavors, terroirs, and history. If you want to learn more about genever, here’s the first comprehensive book on genever: http://www.amazon.com/Genever-500-Years-History-Bottle/dp/0615795854

  5. Charles Hildebrand says

    Gimme my Hendrick’s!

  6. I love gin, so glad to hear all the positive information about it. I was reading about the side effects of tonic water yesterday. When I read “Crack of London”, I thought that the Irish word for fun “craic” had already become Anglicised…. it’s use has been appropriated into British culture. I’m so naive

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