Fiona Duff: Gin bash would ruin this old mother

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If there is something that endears me to a book and its author it is a fascinating fact on the first page.

And so to Gin, a book about that very drink by Geraldine Coates of this parish. It appears that gin was much enjoyed a few centuries ago by the Low Countries – Holland, Denmark etc, as if you didn’t know. Before going into battle, the soldiers would have a quick snifter and hence it became known as “Dutch courage”.

Bingo, another story I can bore people with when the conversation runs dry. Not that it often does when the juniper juice is flowing.

Now have you noticed that it’s all become a bit groovy these days? There was a time that if I ordered a G&T people would react in the same way they do when I mention that I play bridge.

“I thought that was for old people,” they would remark. Of course, these days it may just be that I am an old person, but I certainly don’t remember there being speciality gin joints in town. Now there are at least three that spring to mind immediately. There’s Mothers (no doubt named after its nickname, “mothers’ ruin”, rather than a place only for women who have given birth), and bars at both The Sheraton and Rutland hotels.

Also, gone are the days when ordering a G&T would result in a measure of Gordon’s and a scoosh of tonic from the nozzle. Now you have to choose between Hendrick’s, Caorunn, Pickering’s, Bombay Sapphire . . . my goodness, the list goes on and on forever.

Then there’s the tonic, although frankly I am happy with good old full-fat Schweppes. I won’t even enter the lemon, lime or cucumber debate.

Last week, Geraldine had a party at Summerhall to launch the book. Unfortunately I was at an event in London so couldn’t attend. In hindsight, it is probably good news that I didn’t go along – too much of this spirit of an evening can end with disastrous consequences. I believe that nurses at A&E units around the country refer to them as gincidents.