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.