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Mother’s Ruin: A Cabaret About Gin

Mother’s Ruin: A Cabaret About Gin


The history of gin is a complex story that's about a lot more than just alcohol. Gin was first developed in the Netherlands in the early 1600s as a medicine. You could buy it from a pharmacy and, supposedly, it helped with gout, gallstones and a variety of stomach issues.

From the 1800s, gin was referred to a 'Mother's Milk' but it was eventually called 'Mother's Ruin', relating to the prohibition era of the 1700s.

The story of gin was so fascinating that performer Maeve Marsden, along with Libby Wood, composed a cabaret show called 'Mother's Ruin: A Cabaret About Gin', Marsden and Wood spent many months researching the history of gin.

Gin was originally brought to England as 'genever', a combination of juniper and malt wine. The English replaced the wine with grain-based spirits and the powers that be relaxed the laws about who could make gin as a way of boosting grain production, as well as restricting brandy importation from France.

In London, the 'Gin Craze' led to a lot of deaths from alcohol poisoning or alcohol-related mishaps. By the mid-1700s the Government was trying to deal with the problem by bringing in a number of Gin Acts to crack down on makers, sellers, and drinkers of gin. This idea that gin is 'Mother's Ruin' or that it did more harm to women is curious, because it isn't based on fact.

Gin has seen a turn around in its fortunes however. Today it is a drink to be savoured and enjoyed. Access to botanicals from around the world, as well as huge advancements in the industry, means Gin has come on leaps and bounds.

The fact that there are so many cocktails throughout history that contain gin has also helped, especially with the fascination with the roaring 20s and Gatsby etc. The Savoy Cocktail book, written by Harry Craddock in 1930 for example, contains more gin cocktails than any other spirit.

You can find a selection of Gins, Perfect for Mother's Day in our online store here.

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