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"Dutch courage" or "liquid courage" (properly potvaliancy) refers to courage gained from intoxication from alcohol. Originally the phrase 'Dutch courage' referred to the courage that results from indulgence in Dutch gin (jenever), but 'Dutch courage' can also refer to the gin itself.
In 1650 Franciscus Sylvius, a Dutch doctor, created Dutch gin in an attempt to create a diuretic medicine. This was then used by soldiers in the Thirty Years' War by English troops and was an instant success for its believed warming properties on the body in cold weather and its calming effects before battle. Because of the effects of Dutch gin English soldiers fighting in the Dutch Republic in the 17th century apparently called the drink "Dutch Courage".
After the Thirty Years' War English troops returned home with 'Dutch Courage'. Gin became popular in England after King William III (who also was Stadtholder of the Netherlands), better known as William of Orange (1650 - 1702), allowed unlicensed gin production and at the same time imposed a heavy duty on all imported spirits. Soon gin distillation took place in England. The gin produced in England was different from the original Dutch version because the distillers did not have the original recipe. King William III actively encouraged gin production and gin was sometimes given to workers as a part of their wages.
- diccom"potvaliancy". dictionary.com. Retrieved 29JAN2013.
- Discovery Channel's "How Do They Do It"
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