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The rise of Gin

Matthew Locker

Sandbank Restaurant

Think gin and you immediately think England, or to be more specific, London, but without delving too much into its history, Gin was produced in the 17th Century in Holland as a medicine to treat gout and gallstones.

The famous combination of gin and Indian tonic was created in order to avoid malaria particularly with British troops serving in India. Gin soon became highly popular amongst Brits in the early 18th century, particularly among poorer people who couldn’t afford French Brandy.

A surge in the juniper-based spirit’s popularity can be seen by the dramatic rise in the number of craft gin makers setting up business. Just five micro-distilleries opened in the UK between 2008 and 2011: the same number opened in 2012, 11 in 2013 and a projected 15 new distilleries will be up and running this year, all of which are producing varieties of the three gin classifications – standard, premium and London Dry.

There is no argument that Gin is the “drink of today”, and has become more and more popular due to the new unique infused flavours, which are attracting a younger clientele of drinker. With the help of two regular customers, who are gin connoisseurs and active members or the Craft Gin Society, Wendy, Tony and I have created a Gin menu for those who are already drinking Gin or for those new to its flavours.

Over the past 20 years we have spent hours upon hours deliberating, testing and trialling different Gins with a variety of garnishes, tonics and various mixers. In Wendy’s words “gin and tonic was an active member of my family when growing up”, and goes on to state “it was only natural that it was going to become my drink of choice in all its many forms, which lead me to join the Crafters Gin Society”. It was upon Wendy and Tony’s travels to Madrid that they broadened their horizons on different gins of multiple countries and realised how much UK gin is exported internationally.

I am often asked in the restaurant, which bottle of wine I should take to a dinner party, if you had asked me 5 years ago, I would have answered appropriately, however I would now say, take a bottle of Gin.

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