ABSTRACT: Gin is the most organic and genteel liquor of the alcohol family. Although associated with English royalty and the horse-racing set, in truth, gin has a down-and-dirty history. First invented by a Danish scientist in 1650, gin was intended to remedy kidney disease.
Five years later, English soldiers occupying a territory in the Netherlands took a shining to the drink. Along with a host of venereal diseases, English soldiers returned home with the alcohol and its recipe.
Gin lingered in England for the next three centuries, until gaining underground popularity during the years of Prohibition in America (1919-1929). By extracting poisons from ethyl alcohol and flavoring with juniper, bathtub gin was all the rage in speakeasies. But the purification method was a temperamental process and, if not done correctly, resulted in death for the drinker.
HYPOTHESIS: The assumption is that gin is an empowering drink, one that puts the drinker in a high-flying, ethereal, and easygoing frame of mind. The Subject is a quick-tongued and cute clothing-store manager named Laurel, better known as "Emo Girl."
MEANS AND METHODS: By the fourth drink--a tall tumbler of gin and tonic--Subject raises her pinky and index fingers over her head, and shakes her devil horns. "Yeahhhhhh," Subject says gutturally, lowering her hand and pounding the table for emphasis. For the past ten minutes, Subject has been listening patiently--but energetically fidgeting--to Vodka Subject explain boyfriend problems [See: Vodka Subject]. Now they have formed a pact and have decided to move into an apartment together. Subject has simultaneously turned into Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll, switching easily between being sweetly and conspiratorially amenable, to a don't-fuck-with-me badass.
The experiment had begun two hours earlier with a gin martini at the smoky Space Room along Hawthorne. Subject's baseline (sober) charisma is both engaging and pleasant.
By her second drink--a gin and tonic from the well--Subject has begun to harden her self-esteem and charisma, moving from her engaging give-and-take to a take-it-or-leave-it attitude.
"How do you stop a hippie from dying?" she asks, finishing her drink. "Take your foot off his throat."
Subject says that she drinks four to five times each week; getting drunk four of those times. "Gin," she explains, "is not so rowdy." However, she is apparently not adverse to the idea of rowdiness, as I later noted that she called "Teen Wolf" [See: Rum Subject, Vodka Subject] and told him to join her at the Blackbird.
By her third gin and tonic, Subject is shaking her devil horns in the air and slapping the table. Her philosophies have hardened from mere conjecture to statements of authoritative fact. The recessed filter of Parliament cigarettes, she tells us, was invented for the soldiers fighting in the world war (she's not certain which one). It provided a soft tip so that the GI could bite down hard and hold the cigarette in their mouths. "You don't want to be pussyfooting around when shooting a machine gun," concludes Subject. She gives a sneer and pretends to chomp down on a cigarette.
CONCLUSION: Gin turns its drinkers into gods and legends, at least in their own minds.