Learn To Speak English Fluently And Why Gin Is A Mothers Ruin
Summary: Learn to speak English fluently
Today we learn all about Gin as we learn to speak English fluently. 2018 was a big year for the popularity of Gin in the UK. It seems a long lost alcoholic drink of the past came rushing back. So if you want the English vocabulary to navigate a UK pub in 2019 you will enjoy listening to our latest podcast.
This podcast is full of interesting history about Gin and if nothing else will explain what Gin is in all its many forms. So even if you don’t drink alcohol there is plenty of useful English vocabulary to practice and English conversation to learn.
As always, we recommend you listen to the audio repeatedly, until you understand all the vocabulary. Use the free English language transcript PDF we provide to help you lookup any words you don’t understand.
Audio Transcript: Learn To Speak English Fluently And Why Gin Is A Mothers Ruin
Hi there and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. This is our Monday podcast and therefore it’s a bit longer than our Thursday podcast, but of course, both are good to listen to – and have the purpose of allowing you to practice your English language listening, helping you to learn to speak english fluently .
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What is gin?
So, if you’d been at our house on Christmas Day, which is traditionally when you open your Christmas presents in the morning, you would have seen me opening my Christmas presents. And this year, it turned out that my fondness – that means my liking – my fondness for gin was very evident in some of the presents. I received a bottle of gin, some gin glasses, some herbs for flavouring gin and a whole book on cocktails made with gin. You get the picture. If you don’t know what ‘gin’ is – G-I-N….it’s an alcoholic drink, which is clear, rather like vodka, but it’s got a different flavour. There are a number of different herbs and spices which give gin its flavour.
For me, gin is a lovely, summer drink, with ice and lemon – but that’s not to say that it’s unwelcome on a winter evening as well. And of course the more usual way to drink it as a G&T – which stands for ‘gin and tonic’. The tonic, T-O-N-I-C in this context means a fizzy drink, rather like lemonade, but more fizzy and not as sweet. So you might buy Schweppes tonic or a popular one in the UK at the moment is Fevertree tonic water. So a G&T can be a nice aperitif, that means a drink before a meal, or you might ask for it in a bar or a pub. It’s not that I drink alcohol very much, but what I do drink, I want it to be nice. So a G&T is my usual alternative to a glass of wine. So if you want to learn to speak english fluently when you go out to a bar or a pub, this podcast is good practice for you.
Gin enjoying new popularity
Gin has had what we call ‘a resurgence’ in recent years in the UK. ‘Resurgence’ is a noun and ‘to have a resurgence’ just means that something has become popular all over again – although it’s been present all along. So everywhere you look there are different types of gin, different flavours of gin. You can get raspberry gin, ginger gin, rose gin, rhubarb gin. Rhubarb is a fruit which is a stalk, a stick of a plant. And many other flavours are being used in gin. More of the traditional gin is also being drunk.
Traditionally, the UK is known across the world for producing gin as a clear alcoholic drink, but actually a little research shows that gin was originally invented by the Dutch ‘jenever’ (pronounced ‘Yen-Eva’). And it was originally from a medicinal drink. ‘Medicinal’ means ‘intended as a medicine’. But England really took up the idea of gin and started to produce it in quantity as early as the 1600s. In fact, gin became something of a problem for a time, there was such enthusiasm for it! It was a source of social problems, it was so popular. ’Mother’s ruin’ was one name for it, because there were so many women who had problems with alcohol, because of their gin drinking. So of course, you can have too much of a good thing sometimes.
Gin is usually made with juniper berries and juniper, J-U-N-I-P-E-R is a native British conifer tree. So gin is ‘home-grown’ here in the UK, and in fact, ‘London gin’ is a particular type, recognised by the EU. And there are EU controls over what you can add. You can’t just put flavourings in to certain types of gin – it has to follow a certain process of distillation. ‘To distil’ is the verb used for the process of making alcoholic drinks. So you would also distil whiskey or beer and the factories where this happens are known as ‘distilleries’.
You can usually smell them when you pass on the street! If you look over a list of the best known gin brands, you’ll see that many of them are made in England, but they also come from Scotland, Ireland and of course, the Netherlands. So words that are possibly new to you so far, if you want to learn to speak english fluently are ‘to distil’, meaning to make an alcoholic drink, and a ‘distillery’ is the factory where you distil something into alcohol. And ‘distillation’ is the noun, the name for the process of making alcohol. And ‘medicinal’ means like a medicine – so something which is intended to benefit your health. Oh and ‘rhubarb’ is a fruit, which is a stalk of a plant and juniper berries are what flavour gin.
So, as I say, the traditional flavour for gin, is the berries or the fruit of the juniper plant. And juniper is a conifer. So that’s the sort of tree which comes from northern countries, which is evergreen – green all year round. So juniper berries give gin its very distinctive taste. And its taste is so particular, that it’s one of those things, which people either like or they really don’t like.
Did you listen to the Adept English podcast on Marmite? Well, it’s a bit like that – you like it or you don’t. But of course, you can flavour gin with all kinds of other things, not just juniper berries. So there’s a tradition of flavouring gins with other berries – especially sloe berries – that’s S-L-O-E, another type of berry, found in the UK. And you can make damson gin. Damsons are a small plum. That’s delicious – for me, damson gin is the best of all!
Lots of gins are described as ‘botanicals’. So some vocabulary here - ‘Botany’ is the study of plants, so ‘botanical’ means to do with particular types of plants and ‘botanicals’ in the plural is a quick way of saying ‘plants which are used to flavour something’ - here gin. So the idea of course is that the gins are flavoured with different plants. Coriander, cardamom – both of which you’ll find in Indian curries, licorice and cinnamon can all be used, along with orange, lime and lemon, of course.
So again, vocabulary we’ve covered to help you learn to speak english fluently when you go out for a few drinks, at least at the start of the evening - ‘botanicals’ means plant-based flavours, a lime is like a lemon, but green. Damsons are a small fruit, like a plum. Oh, and a G&T means a gin and tonic water.
Brands of gin
What about the new flavoured gins and all the brands that there are in the UK? Well, if you looked inside the drinks cabinet of people in the UK who are my parents’ age, you would probably come across brands like Gordon’s or Beefeater gin. And maybe even Bombay Sapphire – that’s the one in the blue bottle. A sapphire is a precious stone – like a diamond – but blue in colour. Bombay Sapphire is famous gin across the world and very nice too! But there are many well-known brands. Tanqueray is distilled in Scotland and there are several varieties of Tanqueray. For instance Tanqueray Rangpur is flavoured with Indian limes.
A lime is normally like a lemon, but green in colour, but actually Rangpur limes are more like a cross between an orange and a lemon. Seagrams is another brand name, with a lime twist or a pineapple twist, if you prefer! ‘A twist’ just means ‘with a little bit of something added’ - so here a bit of lime or a bit of pineapple. Other brands of gin – well, there’s also Hendricks, Fords, Magellan. And many other local gins are made in the UK – like Brighton gin for instance, made of course, in Brighton.
So whether or not you like gin yourself, or if you’ve never tried it or you might try it after listening to this podcast, or if you’re a bartender and you don’t drink it yourself, but you need to know this stuff for your work? Either way, I hope this podcast has been interesting and possibly useful for you in learning to speak english fluently.
So ‘Bottoms Up’, ‘Cheers’, ‘Good Health’ – and here’s to a G&T. Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
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