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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University June 11, 2007 | Vol. 36 No. 37
Libations and Learning: 'Crazy for Gin' at Homewood Museum

By Heather Egan Stalfort
Historic Houses

Johns Hopkins' Homewood Museum again will strike the perfect balance between libations and learning at its 11th annual "Evening of Traditional Beverages: Crazy for Gin," at 6 p.m., on Thursday, June 14, on the lawn of Homewood Museum (rain location is Levering Union's Great Hall).

Almost no alcoholic beverage has had as maligned a reputation as gin. "Gin is the bad boy of the spirits world," wrote Vogue's legendary wine and spirits columnist Henry McNulty. "Most drinks have a past of distinction — sherry and the brandies of Spain, whiskey and Scottish lairds in their kilts. But gin became a sort of 18th-century tranquilizer, cheap, plentiful and potent; able to take people's minds off the miserable conditions in which most of them lived." Not long after gin was created as a medicine in 17th-century Holland, English distilling became a free-for-all, and the so-called gin craze began. As the British Empire expanded, gin was exported all over the world. It first became popular in America during Prohibition, when bootleg "bathtub gin" was run state to state, and later gin reigned as king of the cocktail era.

At the annual Homewood Museum event, which combines sophisticated historical content with an al fresco cocktail party, wine and spirit connoisseur Nelson Carey, owner of Grand Cru Wine Bar, and his associate Chris Attenborough will illuminate this flavorful spirit's long and fascinating evolution from medicinal concoction and moral scourge to empire export and high- society favorite. Guests will enjoy a tasting of premium gins that use different botanical ingredients in their secret recipes, hors d'oeuvres provided by the Spice Company, classic gin- and-tonic cocktails and a raffle. Andy Bienstock, WYPR-FM's program director, jazz guru and host of The Signal, will serve as master of ceremonies.

Carey's career in the beverage industry spans 16 years. He holds certificates from the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Society of Wine Educators, and is beverage director of the forthcoming Woodberry Kitchen restaurant.

Admission is $20 for Homewood members, $25 for nonmembers. Due to the popularity of the event, reservations are required (call 410-516-5589). Parking is provided at University Baptist Church.


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