There is some dispute about who first created gin, but I credit Dutchman Franciscus de la Boe Sylvius, a professor of medicine who was experimenting with juniper as a diuretic in the 1550s. He infused juniper into white spirit and it was sold in chemists as a treatment for stomachaches, gout and gallstones.

During the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) Dutch soldiers in the chilly trenches were fed gin for its warming properties. When Dutchman William of Orange became King of England he took gin with him. At the time England was at war with France so they had stopped buying French brandy and wine and started distilling gin.

So if you need a little Dutch Courage, make sure it’s gin.


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