It is widely assumed that to drink a G&T you have to be over 45 and female and of an emotionally distressed state.
Well, I like a G&T on occasion as do a lot of my friends, although they don’t need an occasion for them to have a few. Admittedly we are all over 45 and female. The emotionally distressed state goes with the territory.
So, what is it with gin and old ladies?
Here’s what I think but with a bit of history thrown in:
Historically gin was drunk for medicinal purposes during times of the Black Death.
During the "Eighty Years War" Dutch troops drank the spirit Genever (the predecessor to Gin) before going into battle. The English adopted this practice and coined the phrase “Dutch Courage”.
Gin became available to the poor, cheaply and in large quantities during an era called the “Gin craze” way back in the early 1700’s. This led to a rise in crime and, in the case of women, promiscuity. It was in this time that the phrase “Mother’s Ruin” was coined and gin became synonymous with women.
In the mid 1700’s the “Gin Act” was formed in the UK and a tax on gin created. Women who wanted to keep a good reputation stopped drinking it, a lot of others didn’t!
Much later during the cocktail era of the roaring 20’s, gin gave sex appeal to women in high heels and cocktail dresses. The Gin Martini was created, the original Martini without Vodka.
In the USA alcohol was outlawed during Prohibition in the 20’s. Gin was easily made by Bootleggers who added juniper juice (the major flavour in gin) to grain alcohol. The bottles used for the liquor were too tall to be topped off with water from the sink tap so the bath tap was used and the term “bathtub gin” was formed.
In certain countries gin is known as a “panty remover”. There is also a myth that gin tends to make women cry. Both of these statements are unfounded from my personal experiences. Maybe I haven’t been to the right countries!
As far as the “Old Lady” bit goes; gin on it’s own has become known as a “grown up” drink mainly due to the taste which, depending on the gin, can be dry and bitter. Younger, less defined palates, prefer a sweeter taste to bitter and as a rule the older you get, the more your palate can handle. So, it makes sense that older people would appreciate it.
Gin has also been out of fashion; it simply hasn’t been something that the younger generation have been exposed to.
As for women drinking gin, despite its bitterness, gin is a fairly light drink and that appeals to most females. Most men prefer to drink something with a bit more body and bite: beer, whisky etc. That being said, I know plenty of men who are partial to a G&T on a hot summer’s day and likewise women who like whisky and beer.
Today the beverage industry, looking for a new direction after the alcopop (flavoured alcoholic beverage) craze of the mid 1990’s, has liquor store shelves stocked with new gin labels each proffering different tastes, flavours, infusions and “botanicals” (new buzzword).
A result of this is has been a resurrection of the popularity of gin with gin clubs and gin palaces making their way back onto the scene in cities across the world.
Here’s a couple of places worth a visit if you’re nearby:
My 79 year, old mother-in-law is staying with us right now, and every evening before dinner she is happily attached to a Gin and Dubonnet, known as "The Queens Drink" because HR likes the same tipple.
With gin in hand, life doesn’t get much better for this “old lady”, and I can’t argue with that!