Tie One On: The Invention of Gin

Toward the end of the 17th century, Franciscus Sylvius, a Dutch chemist, invents gin — for medicinal purposes. It quickly becomes a popular beverage, and the British government, looking to get rid of a grain surplus, encourages its manufacture. Gin is cheaper than brandy and stronger than beer, wine, or ale. Nothing this potent and affordable has ever been available to the general public before.

"Gin Alley"
William Hogarth, 1751