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Just what the Doctor…er…Bartender Orderedby Luciano Valdivia

When Dr. Franciscus Sylvuis of Holland, also known as Franz de la Boe, invented gin he intended it to be used as a medicine to cure kidney disorders. So how can a flavor-infused distilled neutral spirit possibly be considered to have such healing properties? Well, the word “gin” is (likely) derived from the Dutch word jenever, which translates as juniper, the berries of which are the prime flavor in gin, and have long been recognized—since ancient times—to have medicinal properties, helping with lumbago, stomach ailments, and gout. Booze with infusion—that’s old-school medicine for you.

After its official invention in 1650, it later made a big splash in the United Kingdom in the early 1700’s. During the co-regency of Protestant Monarchs, William of Orange and Queen Mary, the import of French brandy was banned, and duties on German spirits were levied, while allowing unlicensed local gin production. As a result, gin became firmly established in all walks of British society, enjoyed by kings, queens, working class Londoners, and later even MI6’s Agent 007—can’t make a “shaken, not stirred” martini without it. Gin production grew up to six times that of beer, eventually leading to what became known as the “Gin Madness” of 1720’s London. One source states that by 1750, Londoners consumed 11 million gallons of gin per year—I get a headache just thinking about it. After English Parliament passed the Tippling Act eliminating small gin shops, consumption of the liquor dropped and gin quality improved. But for a long time thereafter, gin held a bad reputation: “gin joint” and “gin-soaked” could hardly be considered complimentary.

Gin and tonics are perhaps today’s most recognized gin drink. When we think of this tasty and refreshing beverage during the dog days of summer, we rarely consider how the drink came about, or why we associate it with summertime in the first place. Believe it or not, it was actually during the period of British-occupied India when quinine, a white powder made from the bark of Chinchona trees and an ingredient in tonic water, was discovered to carry anti-malarial properties. While tonic water itself is bitter, the British Raj soon found that mixing it with the Queen’s gin made a much more palatable beverage—especially when trying to stay cool in India’s heat. Dr. Sylvuis would be proud; his concoction actually was preventing disease, in a delightfully refreshing way.

Although you may not have to fend off malaria during this year’s “Indian Summer,” we recommend you try OUR version of the age-old gin and tonic—with some interesting and very refreshing nuances.

Cheers!



Bull and Buddha Citrus Basil Cocktail

First, here’s how to make the juice part.
This mix will yield @30 cocktails.

What you need-

  • 20 limes
  • 5 lemons
  • 3 oranges
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 large bunch fresh basil
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries

Start with fruit at room temp (you get more juice when warm). Fresh squeeze all citrus, and strain. Dissolve sugar in water and bring to a boil. Beat the basil w/ the back of a knife to release oils, add to water, and shut off heat. Let steep for 30 min, strain and squeeze any liquid from wilted basil leaves, and let cool. Mix all ingredients in blender including raspberries and strain again. Refrigerate until cocktail hour.

Now the cocktail:
Fill glass w/ ice; add 1½ oz. Hendrick’s Gin. Add about 2 oz. of the mix and top off the rest w/ club soda. Garnish with lime wedge. Enjoy in good health!



Luciano Valdivia—general manager of Bull & Buddha, Poughkeepsie—is a frequent contributor to Roll.



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