Whether experiencing a gin martini for the first time, going for standard gin-and-tonic, or getting even more creative, Ginuary is a great time to get excited about gin!
History of Ginuary
Gin is a spirit that has a rich and unique history that begins in Europe. Originally used for its medicinal effects, the name may have come from a Flemish word “genever” or “jenever” and then it was likely shortened to simply become “gin”, as it is known today. It is made from a distilled grain as well as berries from the coniferous juniper shrub and other botanicals.
While it certainly has some roots within the Dutch culture, some historians believe that gin goes even further back. It may even extend as far as the 11th century, starting with monks in Southern Italy who made the spirit from the juniper trees which were all around them.
Gin moved across the continent and then came into popularity in England in the 17th century when Queen Mary II and King William III became co-regents for the country. Since William was Dutch, the people of England would show their support by drinking gin (in lieu of the alternative brandy).
Gin has come a long way over its history as, centuries ago, some cheaper version of the spirit may have been flavored with turpentine! Today’s version of gin is likely a bit different as it is purer and comes in a variety of unique options for flavors and styles.
While some people choose the month of January to avoid drinking alcohol, Ginuary is on a different end of the spectrum. The month is meant to celebrate gin as a versatile spirit that offers all sorts of opportunities to explore unique and interesting flavors and styles of gin, as well as recipes that can be made using it.
And Ginuary is the perfect time to make such explorations and discoveries!
Gin is distilled in the Netherlands
Often used for medicinal purposes, this juniper-based spirit is distilled by a Dutch physician.
Gin is first mentioned in a book
Sir Hugh Plat’s Delights for Ladies makes the first mention of a spirit made from juniper berries.
Gin becomes popular in England
When Dutch King William III takes the throne in Britain, the popularity of gin increases significantly as an act of patriotism.
Gordon’s Gin company is established
A distillery is opened in the Southwark area of London and continues with a secret recipe that remains unchanged in modern times.
Queen Elizabeth ascends to the throne
This beloved, long-reigning queen of England is famously known to drink a gin and Dubonnet cocktail just before lunch each day.
How to Celebrate Ginuary
Get ready to take the entire month of January, a full 31 days, to enjoy and appreciate everything that is fun and unique about gin. Consider implementing some of these ideas for celebrating Ginuary:
Try a New Type of Gin
Gin is one of the spirits that offers the most interesting opportunities for ingenuity. And as brands and companies get creative, new types of gin are regularly being developed and marketed, including unique seasonal releases.
- Castle & Key Rise Gin. Each year, the seasonal recipe changes at this distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, which is located between Lexington and Louisville. Botanicals for past seasons have included rose petals, tarragon and green cardamom.
- Malfy Gin. This gin, hailing from Italy, is certainly worth drinking and it also comes in a uniquely attractive bottle that invites tasters to enjoy “La Dolce Vita”. Flavor options are Original, Gin Rosa, Con Limone (with Iemon) and Con Arancia (with orange).
- Fair Gin. Looking for ethical, fair trade, environmentally friendly, human-centric spirits? Because the Fair Gin company from France was established in 2009 under these principles. And the floral notes from this drink bring a taste that is something akin to a French perfume.
- Minke Gin. Emerging from Ireland, this gin comes from an award-winning distillery. The gin is inspired by the minke whales that just happen to swim right off of the coast of the Atlantic ocean. With a distinctive flavor coming from sea fennel, the whey for the base spirit is grown on a farm that has been in the family for nine generations.
Take Advantage of Gin Sales and Discounts
January is a perfect time to restock that liquor cabinet after depleting it over the Christmas holiday season. And since many liquor and spirit providers are getting into the rhythm of celebrating Ginuary, it’s quite likely that people can find special deals and bargains on the different brands of gin.
Take this opportunity to stock up on those well-known and well-loved bottles of gin, and don’t forget to throw in some seasonal gins and new-to-you gins to try out. And, while you’re there, go ahead and buy up a few bottles to give as gifts. Gin can be a special present to celebrate birthdays, hostess gifts and other occasions throughout the year.
Explore a New Recipe with Gin
Ginuary is the best time to get adventurous and make some new explorations in the name of gin! Go beyond a basic martini or usual gin & tonic, and get excited about some of these ideas for making and trying new gin cocktails:
- Grape, Rosemary and Gin Crush. Rosemary needles, mashed fresh grapes, lemon juice and gin are combined with ice and a splash of sparkling water.
- Gin-gin Mule. This mashup of a Moscow Mule and minty Mojito uses ginger beer, lime juice, gin, simple syrup and a sprig of fresh mint.
- Greyhound Cocktail. This easy to make drink supposedly got its name because it was a drink that became popular at Greyhound bus stations in the US. It’s a simple recipe made from grapefruit juice and gin.
- Tomato Spritz. A unique cocktail, this one uses prosecco, club soda, gin, vermouth, tomato water and a cherry tomato shrub made with dry rose wine and raspberry vinegar.
Follow in Queen Elizabeth II’s Footsteps
Perhaps it is the secret to her longevity, whether in years of life or just years on the throne of England, but Queen Elizabeth II has some very interesting habits when it comes to gin. The word on the royal street is that she imbibes a gin drink every day before eating lunch, and then she has another dry martini in the evening.
Those who want to be more like the Queen can certainly celebrate Ginuary with her. And, even better, they could participate by purchasing a bottle of small batch dry gin that is made especially for the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace, sourced from herbs that are grown and handpicked in the Buckingham Palace gardens.
What is gin made from?
Gin is made from a grain and what makes it unique is the juniper berries and botanicals.
What does gin taste like?
Because it is made from juniper berries, gin has a flavor of pine needles as well as herby tones.
Does gin go bad?
Gin can be safely stored for many years, even after opening, but should be kept away from direct sunlight or heat sources.
Can gin be kept in the freezer?
Sure. Many people think storing gin in the freezer keeps it more fresh.
What’s the best way to drink gin?
Many cocktails can be made from gin, including martini, gin & tonic or negroni. Or simply drink gin straight up, ice cold.