IN AND TONIC IS THE ‘LITTLE BLACK DRESS’ of bar culture. It’s a timeless classic and it goes with any meal and every occasion. But gin was originally created for medical purposes only. A Dutch physician developed what was known as ‘genever’ (Dutch for ‘juniper’) as a remedy for stomach and kidney ailments. English soldiers took genever to the British Isles where it became known as ‘gin’. Partly because French spirits were not allowed to be imported and partly because the laws governing gin production had been relaxed, gin became so popular that by 1727, six million people in Britain drank an estimated 22.5 million litres of it. Gin is one of the basic spirits in modern bar culture, and few drinks are more diverse. Each gin acquires its own particular taste through an average of six to ten different flavours, and some brands enrich their gin with as many as fifty. Straight, with tonic water or in a cocktail – gin is an indispensable feature of any self-respecting bar.