From ‘Mother’s ruin’ to fancy cocktail bars

Dec 10, 2022

The fascinating story of gin and how it became the beloved spirit it is in today’s cocktail culture.

Gin has a long and rich history that dates back to the Middle Ages. Gin’s origins can be traced back to the Low Countries (now Belgium and the Netherlands), where monks and alchemists used juniper-flavoured spirits for medical purposes. These spirits, known as ‘genever’ or ‘jenever’, were made from a base of malt wine and juniper berries.

During the 17th century, the Dutch East India Company began importing large quantities of juniper berries from Asia, making gin production much more affordable. As a result, gin became increasingly popular in the Netherlands and in England.

It was the working classes that took to the gin in England due to its relatively low cost and high alcohol content. The gin frenzy that swept through London in the 18th century became known as the ‘Gin Epidemic’. The spirit was even nicknamed as ‘Mother’s ruin’, believed to be the reason for women to abandon their families and engage in immoral behaviour. Gin was also blamed to cause poverty, social issues, and crime.

The British government responded by passing a series of laws to regulate the production and sale of gin, which aimed to control the excesses of the ‘Gin Epidemic’. Despite these efforts, gin remained a popular drink in England throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. During this time, gin evolved from a rough, juniper-flavoured spirit to a more refined drink. And with the invention of the coffey- or column-still, gin could be produced by continuous distillation, which improved its quality and purity.

It was also that time, around 1888, when Robert Studer, co-founder of the Swiss distillery Studer, went on a trip to London, where he experienced first-hand how popular gin was. Travelling in those days involved working during the travels. Inspired by his experience working in London distilleries, on his return to Switzerland, Robert Studer began experimenting with different botanicals and distilling methods. Eventually, he perfected a classic London Dry recipe, creating Studer’s Swiss Highland Dry Gin – a blend of botanicals headlined by juniper berries, coriander, angelica root, and a few secret ingredients. And more gin flavours from the Home of Great Spirit in Entlebuch – the UNESCO-protected Biosphere in Switzerland – followed soon.

Gin has certainly grown in popularity again in recent years, particularly with the rise of craft gin, resulting in the large range of gin variety on the market.

Today, the versatile spirit is found in countless cocktails as well as the classic G&T in its various versions. Explore a few classics and, of course, our range of gins below.

Award-winning Gin from The Home of Great Spirit – Studer’s range of premium gins:

SWISS GOLD GIN 40.0% VOL

SWISS HIGHLAND DRY GIN 42.4% VOL

SWISS HIGHLAND OLD TOM GIN 44.4% VOL

SWISS HIGHLAND SLOE GIN 26.6% VOL

SWISS HIGHLAND SLOE GIN CINNAMON (LIMITED WINTER EDITION) 26.6% VOL

SWISS HIGHLAND WILDFLOWER HONEY GIN (LIMITED SUMMER EDITION) 33.3% VOL

SWISS HIGHLAND NATURALLY ONI (NON-ALCOHOLIC) 0.0% VOL