Move over January, it’s time for Ginuary — an annual international month-long celebration of gin, which is held in, you guessed it, January! All through the month, people are encouraged to appreciate this clear alcohol (in moderation) and delve into absolutely everything gin-related — the process, history, brands, and even special cocktail concoctions. It might have a special hashtag (#ginuary), but there are no organizational bodies behind this event. It is simply a term — and a festival — created by gin lovers and adopted by the global gin community.
History of Ginuary
Back in the Middle Ages, the Dutch people would make spirits distilled from juniper berries, and since ‘gin’ is the Dutch word for ‘juniper,’ we’re inclined to believe gin was first produced here.
In the 17th century, English soldiers fighting the Dutch would drink this ‘Dutch courage’ as they called it, and bring it with them when they returned to England.
Gin became really popular when Mary II and William III & II ascended the English throne in 1688. Why, you ask? For one, William was Dutch, and people wanted to integrate themselves into him by drinking a Dutch spirit. Plus, he’d imposed heavy taxes on other spirits like beer and brandy, so only gin was left for the price-conscious public.
However, in the 18th century, gin had a poor reputation since it was accused of getting people intoxicated and causing the troubles that necessarily followed. To suppress the gin mania, successive governments levied various tariffs on gin distilleries during that time period, with limited success. Of course, back then, gin was distilled with turpentine and sulfuric acid, which is no longer the case. The technology of 19th-century gin distilleries aided in changing the way gin was made, and the world witnessed the emergence of a new version of this drink. In the 21st century, gin is a common drink, a regular ingredient in cocktails (Martini, anyone?), and has a global fanbase.
Londoners frequent the banks of the Thames in the dead of winter, where vendors have set up stalls selling — among other things — warm gin and gingerbread as both are said to have natural warming properties; this is still a tradition in some parts of London.
European pharmacies prescribe gin for everything from stomach ailments to kidney infections; gin becomes very popular, and gin shops are found in almost every corner of England.
Called the 'Gin Twist', this drink is so famous that it is mentioned in numerous novels and periodicals, and there is even a 149-line poem in a newspaper that extolls this drink's virtues.
A young editor (real name Theodor Suess Geisel) is fired after being caught smuggling gin into his dorm room; determined to keep writing, he sends in his articles under the pseudonym 'Seuss,' adding the 'Dr.' in later.
What is Ginuary?
Ginuary, the opposite of Dry January or Dryanuary, is a celebration of gin in all its forms.
What's gin made out of?
Gin is an alcoholic drink made from grain alcohol, juniper, and other botanicals. Juniper, the main ingredient, gives gin its unique flavor.
Is gin just vodka?
Gin and vodka are not the same. They are both neutral spirits, but gin has a distinctive taste due to the juniper berries, making it very different from vodka.
Check out all kinds of gin
Whether you fall into the gin lover category or not, give gin a chance this Ginuary. Explore various flavors, try out different brands, and conduct your own gin tour.
Discover what you can do with gin
Did you know gin could be used for baking? Or that it cures fish especially well? Find out what else this complex spirit can do; check out (and try out) different uses of gin online.
Make new gin cocktails
Celebrate this month by creating delicious new gin drinks. Try out recipes you've never had, and experiment with your own. Go ahead and get mixing!
5 Fun Facts About Gin
A gin recipe appears in print
William Terrington's “Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks,” the earliest British book to write cocktail recipes, features a gin cocktail as its first recipe.
Gin has to have a 'juniper flavor'
This spirit is legally bound to have a predominantly 'juniper flavor'; no details about other added flavor profiles are mentioned.
It's where 'blind drunk' comes from
Bathtub gin — or gin produced in the bath — was very popular in 1920 in America; unfortunately, it caused major side effects, including blindness, leading to the coining of the phrase 'blind drunk'.
Round the world — with gin
Sir Francis Chichester, the first man to successfully travel around the world in a sailboat, credited a gin cocktail for his success; he said the worst day was when his gin ran out.
G&T comes from British colonies
Tonic water from Indian colonies proved to be a good deterrent for malaria; gin was added to mask the tonic's bitter taste, and a legendary drink was born.
Why We Love Ginuary
We love gin
This spirit's herbal, floral flavor is a great addition to our day, or so we think.
A celebration of all things gin
It's not simply the drink that features in Ginuary celebrations. Brands, cocktails, the history of the drink itself, and even places that give out Ginuary discounts are celebrated equally.
It helps us get through January
Christmas is gone, and another year is here. Gin is perfect to help us with our new year's introspection and the sudden quiet after the festivities.