Earlier this month a note from the late Queen Mum to her assistant asking him to “pack the gin” sold at auction for $32,000 US. Dorothy Parker’s relationship with the spirit is more associated with speakeasies and bathtub stills. Originally medicinal in origin when first created in Holland in the 17th century, by the 20th century, gin was a flavourful and unique beverage consumed by sophisticated people, the most notable of them women.
During the 30 Years War, British troops took a liking to the “Dutch courage” and brought it back to Britain with them where distillers continued to sell it for medicinal purposes, and individuals made it at home, with estimates of 1/3 of all homes at the times creating their own gin, which was said to be very bad. The spirit was popular among the poor, including children, and was the cause of rampant addictions and alcoholism. King Charles 1 passed the gin act which regulated producers, created a better quality product and used surplus corn and barley grown by English farmers.