i Mother's Milk or Mother's Ruin; Dutch Courage or Cuckold's Comfort: the fanciful nicknames that gin has acquired only hint at its colourful story.In Gin: A Global History, wine and spirits writer Lesley Jacobs Solmonson journeys into gin's past to reveal how the spirit has played both hero and villain throughout history. The tale begins with the aromatic juniper berry, whose medicinal properties have been used since antiquity. It was the Dutch who recognized juniper's more alcoholic possibilities, distilling it into the whiskey-like genever. This 'original gin' made its way to Britain where imitations laced with turpentine and other caustic fillers became the street drug of choice for poor eighteenth-century Londoners. Eventually, this deadly concoction was replaced by the sweetened Old Tom style and then by London Dry gin, whose popularity spread along with the British Empire.While British society types and naval officers sipped their Gins and Tonic, American bartenders showcased both genever and English gins during the Golden Age of the Cocktail. On both sides of the Atlantic, as well as around the globe, London Dry won the popularity contest in classic drinks such as the dry Martini and the Gimlet. Today the juniper-based elixir has reasserted its importance, as the world of mixology once again embraces classic cocktails. Gin: A Global History features many enticing recipes and images from the past and present of gin. The book will entice both cocktail aficionados and students of socio-political change, as it chronicles gin's evolution from humble berry to modern alcoholic marvel. You will never regard a martini in the same way again.

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