'Gin is a spirit which derives its predominant flavour from juniper berries'
'Gin was developed on the basis of the older Jenever, and became popular in Great Britain when William of Orange, leader of the Dutch Republic, occupied the English and Scottish thrones with his wife Mary.'
'It is further claimed that British soldiers who provided support in Antwerp against the Spanish in 1585, during the Eighty Years' War, were already drinking genever for its calming effects before battle, from which the term Dutch Courage is believed to have originated.'
'In the heyday of the industry there was no quality control whatsoever (gin was frequently mixed with turpentine), and licences for distilling required only the application.
When it became apparent that copious gin consumption was causing social problems, efforts were made to control the production of the spirit. The Gin Act 1736 imposed high taxes on sales of gin, forbade the sale of the spirit in quantities of less than two gallons, and required an annual payment of £50 for a retail licence. It had little effect beyond increasing smuggling and driving the distilling trade underground. Various loopholes were exploited to avoid the taxes, including selling gin under pseudonyms such as Ladies' Delight, Bob, Cuckold's Delight, and the none-too-subtle Parliament gin.
The prohibitive duty was gradually reduced and finally abolished in 1743. Francis Place later wrote that enjoyments for the poor of this time were limited: they had often had only two: "...sexual intercourse and drinking," and that, "...drunkenness is by far the most desired..." as it was cheaper and its effects more enduring. By 1750, over a quarter of all residences inSt Giles parish in London were gin shops, and most of these also operated as receivers of stolen goods and co-ordinating spots for prostitution.' Wiki
'Beer maintained a healthy reputation as it was often safer to drink the brewed ale than unclean plain water. Gin, though, was blamed for various social problems, and it may have been a factor in the higher death rates which stabilized London's previously growing population.'
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