The Sunday Edition

From Gin Lane to shaken, not stirred

Olivia Williams traces the social history of Britain through changes in the status of the juniper-flavoured spirit. Her book is called "Gin, Glorious Gin: How Mother's Ruin Became the Spirit of London".
The alleged crimes were reported to Fort Saskatchewan RCMP in April. (Jon Worth/CBC)

In the world according to Noel Coward, "A perfect martini should be made by filling a glass with gin, then waving it in the general direction of Italy." He is just one of many British writers who have known and loved gin.

Gin Glorious Gin: How Mother's Ruin Became the Spirit of London is a rich cultural history of the juniper-based spirit, and of the time and place in which it was produced. The author, Olivia Williams, chronicles gin's slow but sure ascent from - as she puts it - "grime to grandeur." 

The British have been making and drinking gin for more than three centuries, and it has taken centuries to reform gin's reputation, from a disrespected drink to its popularity today.


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