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Bathtub gin refers to any style of homemade spirit made in amateur conditions. The term first appeared in 1920, in the prohibition-era United States, in reference to the poor-quality alcohol that was being made.
As gin was the predominant drink in the 1920s, many variations were created by mixing cheap grain alcohol with water and flavorings and other agents, such as juniper berry juice and glycerin. Because the preferred sort of bottle was too tall to be topped off with water from a sink, they were filled from a bathtub tap, as well as sometimes distilled from and fermented in a bathtub. Hence the name, 'bathtub gin'.
Many gin cocktails owe their existence to bathtub gin, as they were also created in order to mask the awful taste.
Bathtub Gin is also the name for a gin brand produced by Master of Malt, in the United Kingdom. Whilst not being made in a bathtub it is produced using compounding/infusing rather than using botanical distillation.
Use in popular culture
The Simpsons episode "Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment" features Homer and Bart mixing and brewing alcohol, including gin, in various bathtubs in the basement and secretly supplying and distributing it to Moe's Tavern via an elaborate delivery system to avoid detection.
- "bathtub gin". Merriam-Webster OnLine. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster. Archived from the original on 19 February 2010. Retrieved March 3, 2010.
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