James Bond seduces femme fatales over a lethal martini — shaken, not stirred. From the pages of Dickens’s David Copperfield, Mr. Micawber convinces himself that things will get better while preparing his special spiced punch. F. Scott Fitzgerald pens Jay Gatsby roaring through the Twenties downing rickeys and slings. The greatest characters in literature tend to be great drinkers and their favourite tipple? Gin.
From humble origins in the 17th century to its stylish revival today, gin saturates popular culture. One of its earliest mentions is in the diary of the dyspeptic Samuel Pepys. A man of fashion and bon viveur, Pepys prided himself on being ahead of the trends sweeping his beloved and benighted London. On the 10th of October, 1663 he decides to try the very latest tipple which he’s told will cure his colic: “Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten did advise me to take some juniper water.”
He does not record his hangover…