Lv 7
Jamie asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 2 months ago

Was it common for Victorian Brits to take their gin with hot water ?

Just read Oliver Twist and there are a few references to gin with hot water and sugar  .


Quentin , thank you for the big effort with your answer .

3 Answers

  • 2 months ago
    Favourite answer

    Gin with warm water and sugar was for medical purposes. Such as a slight case of the flu, or general tiredness. Gin was very cheap in those days. People drank a lot of it. They didn't waste money on tonic-water but diluted it with plain water. In winter warm water was used.

    Some examples. ( Too many gin-and-water to enumerate all )

    With warm water, was when it was cold:- 

    "shivering, and complaining of the cold, in a manner which, Mr. Bumble declared, caused his teeth to chatter in his head, [...] Putting a glass of hot gin-and-water on the chimney-piece, he drew his chair to the fire."

    Plus sugar:-

    "Mr. Sikes being weak from the FEVER, was lying in bed, taking hot water with his gin to render it less inflammatory; and had pushed his glass towards Nancy to be replenished for the third or fourth time, when these symptoms first struck him."

    "He looked TIRED AND WORN [...] Mr. Crackit stopped to take a draught of spirits and water, and to declare that the gin was excellent; then placing his feet against the low mantelpiece, so as to bring his boots to about the level of his eye, he quietly resumed."

    "“You’ve had A LONG WALK, you know, or I wouldn’t mention it. Now, will you take a little drop of somethink, Mr. Bumble?”[ ...] “Just a leetle drop, with a little cold water, and a lump of sugar.” 

    Mr. Bumble coughed.

    “Now, just a leetle drop,”

    “Why, it’s what I’m obliged to keep a little of in the house, to put into the blessed infants’ Daffy, WHEN THEY AIN'T WELL, Mr. Bumble,” replied Mrs. Mann as she opened a corner cupboard, and took down a bottle and glass. “It’s gin. I’ll not deceive you, Mr. B. It’s gin.”"

     [ps the cough justifies gin on medical grounds]

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    It was common among the poor. Gin in those days was cheap and nasty. The hot water and sugar 'took the bite out of it.'


  • Tina
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Yes. It took the edge off home-made gin.

Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.