“Gin was created in 1652 in the University of Leiden (in the Netherlands) for medicinal purposes.”
That was the opening line for a presentation I had to write for a speech class in college. The professor had told us to write about things that we knew or liked and I, being a carefree college student, was all about gin. I researched it at the library (yes Mom, I did go to the library from time to time at college). Those were the days before the internet too so all my research had to be from encyclopedias and/or books that I would also have to cite as my sources. I remember being confident going into that presentation because I was prepped and ready for it and I can still spew some of the the facts I learned about gin today. I can’t recall what grade I got, but I definitely retained the knowledge which is what school is really all about, right?
Now that the internet is a thing and research is a bit easier to attack, it turns out that the origin of gin story that I was familiar with is not all that true. The juniper berry, which gin is made from, has been popular for years and it is likely that some version of gin has been around long before the University of Leiden. However, as the tale goes, the university is where gin was honed and perfected as a Genever or Dutch Gin. When the spirit made it’s way to England, the Brits changed it slightly into the distilled gin we are familiar with today. I think I should contact my speech class with this update.
As you can tell, I’ve been a fan of gin for a while. Gin has a flavor that can really rub you the wrong way and not everyone is a fan. But for me, it’s a nice light herbal flavor that delights my taste buds. When you combine it with the effervescent tang of a nice fresh tonic water, you have found yourself a match made in heaven. The bubbles give the drink the pizzazz your tastebuds need while the smoothness of the gin melds with the bitterness of the tonic water and it just tastes good and refreshing. Drop a fresh lime in there and you have created some perfection. It could be an ideal cocktail and I was happy to see it celebrated not just here, but on an international scale. Gin & Tonics have that kind of appeal.
Lola has never had a gin and tonic. GASP!
That put how I should celebrate this day into focus. I would make her one and have her share in one of my favorite beverages and expand her palate. I never really thought she’d be interested in gin because it has such a distinct flavor. Usually if Lola has a drink that is particularly strong or alcohol-tasting, she immediately regrets her sip and says “this tastes like date rape.” I always assumed she wouldn’t like it. Tonight however she was game, almost curious, and she said she would have one with me. I had picked up a small bottle of Tanqueray at the store earlier in the day and we were ready to celebrate.
A good gin and tonic is easy to make. Fill your glass to the top with ice (always fill your glass to the brim with ice), pour in the shot of gin then top with fresh tonic water (never use tonic that has been opened for more than a day or so – you need the carbonation), and then squeeze in a fresh lime wedge. That’s it.
We were ready for our drinks just as Cleveland had won the American League pennant, so we had a little something extra to celebrate. We toasted to their success, to gin, to happy moments and to life. I admit I made Lola’s drink a little light – I didn’t want to overwhelm her with gin. I think that was a good decision too because after her first sip, she said it was good. Really good. She said she could really seeing herself enjoying these. I toted the gin and tonic’s merits as a refreshing summer drink and Lola said she could even see it as a good drink anytime. It could become her new wedding drink (your goto drink at weddings once the signature drinks stop being passed around). We had a believer in Lola!
This morning I woke up and I found Lola passed out on the floor, empty bottle of Tanqueray by the side of her head, lime wedges strewn around the floor.
Just to be clear, that was a joke. The truth is we just had the one drink each last night and it was a nice little celebration of the drink and the day. It was fun to show Lola a new taste that she liked, especially because it’s been a favorite of mine for such a long time. It gave us the happy thought of enjoying future gin and tonics on warm beaches or at cozy dinners together. That’s what a good celebration gives you: happy memories, anticipation for more and a sharing of the good life together. That’s something you can celebrate any where in the world. Cheers!
Next Up: National Brandied Fruit Day