The {Short} Story of Gin

Gin has been a staple behind bars and in cocktails for generations – and it’s easy to see why. This flavor-rich cousin of vodka has been enjoying a bit of a comeback as of late. But where’s gin from? How did it get all those marvelous flavors? We were curious too.


The distinctive taste of gin is driven by juniper berries that infuse it with the soulfulness of rich piney, citrus flavors. In fact, the word gin is derived from the French name for juniper, genièvre. Gin first made its appearance in 13th century Holland as a medicinal tonic that could treat everything from indigestion to circulatory ailments. It’s thought that gin hopped over from the European continent to England in the 16th century with soldiers returning from the Eighty Year War. The English soldiers would steel their nerves before battle with a few stiff swigs of the juniper-infused elixir.

Gin became quite the hit in 17th century England to say the least. With an overabundance of gin production, prices plummeted and gin became a little too easily accessible. Basically, half of London was partaking way too much. Facing public calls to get the situation under control, Parliament passed a series of laws limiting the production of gin across the country. BTW remember to always drink responsibly and not like one of these folks in Gin Lane!

Gin Lane London.jpg

The Gin Act of 1736 basically made it crazy expensive to distill and sell gin through a series of taxes and regulations. This kept the all-night, gin-fueled parties to a minimum, but also annoyed enough people to get the law repealed six years later. However, by this time gin had turned the corner and was not seen as a cheap fix, but the respectable drink it is today.

By the mid-1800’s, distillers were producing higher quality gin for a more discerning audience. With the advent of the distillation column, gin producers could tease out those wonderfully complex and aromatic tastes we prize in a quality gin.

Gin usually has several other flavors besides juniper, such as coriander, lavender, allspice, fennel and green cardamom to name a few. This makes sense. Many of these botanicals were considered to have medicinal qualities and harken back to gin being regarded as a tonic. We can’t attest to gin’s potency as a cure for your ailments, but we do know it’s got amazing flavors. 

Trade Eights | Hibiscus Lime +Gin Cocktail

Trade Eights | Hibiscus Lime +Gin Cocktail

The complexity created by these botanicals and spices is why we use gin as the spirit for our Hibiscus Lime bottled cocktail.  Our gin mixes and mingles with the earthiness of the hibiscus and the brightness of the lime juice.  A refreshing and delicious cocktail, it’s our riff on the popular rum-based hibiscus drinks beloved in the Caribbean.

Whether your next gin cocktail is our Hibiscus Lime or another creation, the tradition of enjoying gin with all its wonderful complex flavors lives on with you.  Cheers!