Martini Quotes

"I'm not talking a cup of cheap gin splashed over an ice cube.

I'm talking satin, fire and ice; Fred Astaire in a glass; surgical cleanliness, insight.. comfort; redemption and absolution. I'm talking MARTINI.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

In sickness and in health



      The cold and flu season has begun in earnest here in New England as many of you with small children are probably well aware.  The youngsters seem to be a very favorable culture medium for the myriad of contagion that afflict us.  Being a physician myself, an anesthesiologist by trade, I am by nature not a good patient.  In any event, I seem to have caught one of the bugs and have a raging head cold.  This got me to thinking about the ori"gin"s and medicinal properties of my favorite spirit.


      As is true for the Martini, the history of the origins of gin remain somewhat cloudy.  Although sources can be found relating distillation of spirits with botanicals such as juniper back to the thirteenth century,  documented "recipes" for what has become transformed into the modern gin are generally credited to the Dutch.  It was clearly used in Holland in the seventeenth century where it was sold in chemical shops as medicine, to treat everything from stomach ailments to gout.  Juniper was added for taste and also touted for its medicinal properties as well.  The Dutch called it Jenever, after the juniper flavoring.   The Jenever became Genever and anglicized to the current term Gin. The British soldiers involved in the war in the Lowlands were given it to combat the cold damp weather.  It was also noted to be somewhat of a stimulant prior to battle from whence comes the term "Dutch Courage ".  Apparently, it was also being produced in England on a very small scale which multiplied exponentially when the troops returned home.


     Gin was essentially the only alcoholic beverage produced almost exclusively for it's medicinal value.  The therapeutic properties of the main botanical, Juniper, stem from a volatile oil found in the berries. This oil contains terpenes, flavonoid glycosides, tannins, sugar, tar, and resin. These compounds are responsible for the diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties attributed to Juniper. The flavonoid amentoflavone in particular exhibits antiviral properties. Aha!  Just what I was looking for- a scientific basis for attempting to fight off an upper respiratory tract infection with a Martini.  With these thoughts in mind, I reach for the Hendricks. 

Physician Heal Thyself!

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