Or more specifically juniper berries or even more specifically their best known product. Gin, which in its Dutch incarnation is Jenever. Ok, ok they are not strictly speaking the same thing but Jenever is the ancestor from which gin evolved. Both have been considered medicinal, though gin was also known as “Mothers Ruin”.
When I first started drinking gin, it was quite an old fashioned drink. Gin and tonic, the golf club favourite, or going further back, the gin and lime sundowner. But there also was the Martini, the classic cocktail. Before it had to be renamed “gin Martini”, before Vodkatini, Appletini, Espresso Martini or any hint of a Cosmopolitan. Martini, gin and vermouth, in its elegant glass garnished with an olive. Gin and vermouth in varying proportions, I affected to prefer Noel Coward’s*.
There were so many delicious drinks to explore, the Negroni, French75, the Singapore Sling, the Gibson,and the simple but scrumptious pink gin. With one of these I could be transported to 1920s Florence, Raffles Hotel or Raymond Chandler’s LA.
Today gin is very fashionable, bars offer a huge selection and describe their unique botanicals and match them with artisans tonics. Whisky distilleries are branching out into gin production, it doesn’t call for years of maturing. You can drink gin made in Edinburgh, Islay and Caithness, or if you have juniper berries and vodka you can try making some of your own. But the location of juniper berries is likely to be a closely guarded secret.**
I have quite a sweet tooth, see #Blogtober3 for my paean to cake, but when it comes to drinks bitterness wins every time, even for soft drinks.
So at apero time, it’s a gin for me please.***
*basically neat gin, though that version also attributed to Sir Winston Churchill
**juniper bushes are under threat of disease too.
***and these days put some vermouth in my Martini