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After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Fields, concerned about rationing, took a hand truck to a liquor store and loaded it with six cases of gin. When someone asked him why he need 72 bottles of gin, he replied, “I think it’s going to be a short war.”
shallow focus photography of bombay sapphire dry gin bottle
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I increasingly find myself drawn into the gin world.

I think I became a full-fledged convert when visiting London and Oxford five years ago. I remember lamenting that my gastritis would prevent me from drinking beer, that quintessential English drink, then realized that gin had a big history in England as well. Churchill, for instance, enjoyed a glass of chilled gin every evening. When I visited the Inklings’ Eagle and Child pub, I was struck (and impressed) by the gin selection. While my wife ordered a beer, I got a pink gin and tonic. We both enjoyed the drinks and gender-swapping.

I’ve been poring through those back issues of Modern Drunkard Magazine and have noticed a lot of respect for the juniper-infused vodka. It seems pretty much every issue celebrates it, with the gin and tonic as a highly-respected staple of the drunkard’s diet.

The number of celebrated drunkards who enjoy gin seems limitless.

W.C. Fields, for instance. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Fields, concerned about rationing, took a hand truck to a liquor store and loaded it with six cases of gin. When someone asked him why he need 72 bottles of gin, he replied, “I think it’s going to be a short war.”

Famed wit Dorothy Parker, the only woman at the famed Algonquin Round Table, drank gin martinis like many women drink iced tea: noon to night. Later in life, however, she grew to hate gin.

H.L. Mencken drank gin, though he pretty much drank anything with alcohol, describing himself as “ombibulous.” Ditto for Hunter S. Thompson: gin, as well as anything else (with a special fondness for whiskey . . . another liquor that gets MDM’s immense respect, probably because it’s the manliest of all liquors (IMHO)).

While covering World War II on the front lines, Hemingway always kept a flask of gin.

My favorite gin, incidentally, is The Botanist, with Hendrick’s Summer Solstice a close second. If you want an excellent and magical gin, try Empress 1908: it turns purple when you add tonic, and it tastes great.

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