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Where did gin get its name?
The word gin is an alteration and shortening of geneva (no relation to city of Switzerland), an alcoholic spirit of Holland that was flavored with juniper berry juice. In Dutch, it was genever or jenever, 'juniper', going back through French (genièvre) to Latin juniperus. Gin has also been called "Hollands" or "Hollands Geneva". In Holland it was produced as a medicine and sold in chemist shops to treat stomach complaints, gout, and gallstones. To make it more palatable, the Dutch started to flavor it with juniper, which had medicinal properties of its own. British troops fighting in the Low Countries during the Thirty Years' War were given "Dutch Courage" during the long campaigns in the damp weather - and enjoyed the warming properties of gin. Eventually the soldiers started bringing it back home. When it was first made in Britain, it was an imitation of the Dutch spirit and was flavored with something other than juniper juice - aromatics such as anise, caraway seeds, or angelica root. Gin has a rich history, including the Gin Act of 1736, the ensuing Gin Riots, gin shops, and then "gin palaces" which first appeared about 1830. The gin production process became more refined and gin evolved to become a delicate balance of subtle flavors, beginning its ascent into high society.