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Updated on May 6, 2010

My dear Aunt Beatrice was a fan of the old gin and tonic. She'd carry a hip flask of it with her wherever she went so she could suckle on it any chance she'd get. When I was a choir boy I'd see her belt down a slug between the hymns. She was the organ player mind you.

Thank goodness back in those days they didn't have breathalysers. A kiss from Aunt Beatrice would easily put one over the legal limit for driving. I did learn though by the time I reached my late teens to turn suddenly so her lips would hit the cheek. She had a fondness for slipping in the tongue. When asked who gave me my first romantic kiss I'm unsure if it was Priscilla when we were 9 or Aunt Beatrice when I was 8.

One might argue it was the latter, as there was a church full of witnesses.

While it was many years ago now, and dead old Aunt Beatrice has since passed on, I still can't smell that slight juniper fragrance without gagging a little.

What is Gin?

Gin is a distilled spirit produced chiefly in the United States, England, and the Netherlands. It is more popular as a beverage when mixed with other ingredients: vermouth in a martini cocktail, lemon in a Tom Collins, or bitters.

Flavoring materials, primarily juniper berries, give gin its distinctive taste. Its name is derived from the French word genievre, (juniper). The Dutch, who originated gin in the 17th century, called it genever.

There are two principal types of gin: London Dry gin, popular in the United States and Britain, and Dutch gin, called Holland, Hollands, Geneva (genever), or Schiedam, for a Dutch city where it has been made.

The base of English and American gin is a mash consisting of 75 percent corn, 15 percent malt, and 10 percent other grains, which is fermented and the liquid distilled. Dutch gin is made entirely from barley malt and flavorings and is lower in proof than American and English gin. Sloe gin is actually a liqueur flavored with sloeberries. Old Tom gin is English dry gin that has been sweetened with syrup.

Dry gin is a clear, colorless liquid made from a grain formula similar to that for whiskey. After fermentation, the product is distilled and redistilled and reduced about 50% in proof to bottling strength- 80 to 94 proof. Dutch gin is made in a similar way but it is more full-bodied than London Dry gin.


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    • Ladybird33 profile image

      Ladybird33 7 years ago from Fabulous USA

      I learned something new...thank you.

    • Myn Is Me profile image

      Myn Is Me 7 years ago

      Would you like Gin and platonic or do you prefer Scotch and sofa? LOL

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