Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few years, chances are you’ve noticed that gin is very much the booze à la mode. On World Gin Day 2021, we want to delve deeper into the wonders of the gin world and how it has evolved over the last couple of years. From gin tastings to gin distillery tours and even gin and tonic tea bags – gin is undeniably popular.
The stats don’t lie: The sale of 83 million bottles in 2019 compares to just 33 million bottles back in 2013 in the UK alone and there are now over 300 gin-makers in the nation – compared to just 37 in 2010.
But why such a boom? Well, other than the fact that gin is of course delicious, here are five theories for the modern gin craze...
1. More accessible
Traditionally the HMRC had a problem with gin distilleries producing in small quantities, making it near impossible for new gin companies to prosper. But this all changed in 2009 when trendy West London gin distillery Sipsmith won a historic, two-year legal battle with the HMRC which gave distilleries the legal right to produce and sell gin in small amounts.
This opened the floodgates for independent gin-makers nationwide to crop up and put their own stamp on the gin market.
2. Changing cocktail culture
Cocktails were once regarded as either for only the very rich or strictly for boozy nights out on summer holidays. But this has all changed in recent years with cocktail menus becoming the norm at restaurants, bars and even pubs nationwide. Gin has fitted well into cocktail culture, as any gin fan will know its highly adaptable flavour makes it a perfect infusion for just about any cocktail. And oftentimes only a splash is needed to shape a cocktail, making it an affordable addition to the cocktail scene.
One of the great things about gin is that it is highly versatile and really quite exciting. Depending on the manner of which it is distilled and processed, it can take on many different strengths, tones and tastes.
Gin’s flavour can also be easily transformed by adding various botanical infusions. Delicious popular infusions include: aniseed, orange peel, lavender and vanilla pods. Gin tastings have cropped up all across the UK, allowing guests to experiment with their own botanical gin creations.
4. Nutritional value
Unlike calorific beer (they don’t call it beer belly for nothing!), gin is surprisingly low in calories. A shot of gin has an average of 72 calories, and given the fact that gin typically has no less than 37% alcohol ABV – you can get quite merry on gin without having to sacrifice your diet or healthy lifestyle.
5. Pop culture
Gin has long been part of British culture. While the original ‘gin craze’ of the Victorian era was given a bad rap and the booze was labelled as ‘mother’s ruin’, since the 20th century gin has consistently been portrayed in pop culture as an effortlessly cool, sophisticated booze.
James Bond may be known for his vodka martinis, but in several of Fleming’s books you will spot Bond and various other characters order gin and tonics. You will also see gin crop up many times across episodes of Downton Abbey, only adding to its broad appeal.
And let’s not forget her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II is a keen gin fan, and has been spotted many times drinking the spirit.