Recently, Sainsbury’s have introduced a controversial gin-flavoured yoghurt, and announced plans to introduce more gin-flavoured foods, including a smoked salmon pate with a gin and tonic glaze. With sales of gin surpassing £1bn in 2016, the current obsession with the spirit is apparent, but why?
Gin has a long history in the UK, first arriving with William of Orange in 1688. It was pitched to the masses as medicinal and an antidote to the nation’s obsession with tea, and by the early eighteenth century it had become a craze, with 1,500 distilleries in London alone by the 1730s. Gin was cheaply available and thus became the drink of the working class, who gained a reputation for drunkenness. The upper classes began blaming gin for low fertility rates and a rise in death of young children: infants were neglected by alcoholic mothers and babies were deformed by foetal alcohol syndrome. These factors earned the spirit the name ‘Mother’s ruin’, which is still used by some today. Several acts were passed to try and limit sales and consumption of gin, and in 1757 English grain distilling was banned for three years after a failed harvest. London’s ‘Gin Craze’ is famously represented in William Hogarth’s painting ‘Gin Lane’ which can be explored by History and History of Art applicants alike.
Although the ‘Gin Craze’ passed, gin has remained a popular drink widely associated with British culture. Gin and tonic was popular amongst the British population in colonial India as a way of making their anti-malarial quinine dose more bearable, by mixing it with water, sugar, lime, and of course gin. Quinine is still used today to combat malaria, which is something medical applicants can research further. Gin and tonic is an increasingly popular drink even for those who might not enjoy either individually; as chemist Matthew Hartings explained, the similar molecules merge to create an aggregate, which tastes different to the substances on their own.
Of interest to potential law students is the legal battle between Sipsmith’s and HMRC in 2009 which has contributed to the recent rise in popularity of gin and micro-distilleries. The distillery, which was the first copper-pot based distillery to start in London for 189 years, was planning to produce less than 300 litres of gin per year, which lawfully classed it as ‘moonshine’. After two years of lobbying, the legislation was changed and they were granted a license. With the new allowance for smaller distilleries, the number of gin distilleries doubled between 2010 and 2016. Thus the new ‘ginnaissance’ (a nod to the Renaissance period, where art and literature saw a revival around Europe) has begun, bringing with it potential business opportunities for small producers around the country, including most recently Dundee United Football Club.
Despite the obvious benefits to small businesses, with gin making its way into our yoghurt and smoked salmon, and our country’s turbulent history with the spirit, should we be concerned about what a new ‘Gin Craze’ might bring?
- Cambridge Law Test overview If you’re applying to read Law at Cambridge you will probably need... Read more >
- What Results Do You Need In Your Exams? At the heart of every Oxbridge offer is an excellent... Read more >
- The Architecture of an Education: what are colleges all about? Explaining the difference between Oxford and Cambridge colleges and the... Read more >
- Personal statement: our tips in the Independent Here are 3 quick tips every hopeful should consider before... Read more >
- Law: answer like a pro Law is a notoriously competitive subject; this, along with the... Read more >
- Download an Economics Personal Statement 2 “Beyond this essential interest in the subject, I find that... Read more >
- Cambridge’s Supplementary Application Questionnaire After you have submitted your UCAS application to apply to... Read more >
- 20 Real-Life Oxford and Cambridge Interview Questions The Oxford and Cambridge interviews are notorious for having academically... Read more >
- Personal Statement Workbook Download A personal statement is a unique document which is all... Read more >
- Admissions Tests: our tips as featured in the Independent Last year, the Independent asked us to provide some simple... Read more >
- Interactive Interview Exercise Manual ‘What should I expect at my Oxbridge interview?’ ‘How will... Read more >
- History Reading Lists The main challenge in the step up from school to... Read more >
- Oxford and Cambridge International Grade Requirements If you’re applying to Cambridge or Oxford but you’ve not... Read more >
- TSA Cambridge Example Questions and Answers If you have completed the TSA Cambridge course report and are... Read more >
- What makes a good interview? The notion of an academic interview with prominent Oxbridge academics is a major... Read more >
- Maths & Hard Sciences: answer like a pro Maths, Physics, Chemistry – they’re brilliant because there is a right... Read more >
- March’s Top News Stories Read more about some of the biggest news stories to... Read more >
- TSA Cambridge mini mock & answers The Thinking Skills Assessment is required for a number of... Read more >
- Social and Political Sciences Reading List We’ve brought together a wide-ranging bibliography to help those applying... Read more >
- HAT mini mock paper The History Aptitude Test or ‘HAT’ must be sat by... Read more >
- English Language and Literature Reading List If you're applying for English, have a look at our... Read more >
- Maths Puzzle: a game of chess We asked one of our top Maths Oxbridge tutors for... Read more >
- How is the BMAT marked? The BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) is marked significantly differently from... Read more >
- What You Need To Know About A Level Reforms The A Level system that has been in place since... Read more >