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back to article Ferocious fungus imperils future of British gin and tonic

Juniper berries, the crucial ingredient in the quintessential British distilled spirit, gin, and thus critical to the revered pick-me-up, gin and tonic, are under attack. "Juniper is in serious trouble," a spokeswoman for Plantlife Scotland told The Telegraph on Wednesday. "One of only three native conifers in Britain, not only …

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Look for a secret volcanic lair somewhere off the Scottish coast, because this certainly seems like a scheme concocted by a Goldfinger, Blofeld, or Zorin to conquer the market.

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Happy

Not quite ...

It's a secret non-volcanic lair somewhere off the coast of New Zealand where we mainain huge stocks of disease-free elm, ash and now juniper.

Yes, it's a hideous plot to conquer the market (and win back the Ashes in the process).

But, now you have discovered the secret, I'm afraid you must be eliminated ...

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Headmaster

Re: Not quite ...

What do the Ashes have to do with New Zealand?

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Ew, Gordon's?

As a lover of gin myself, I insist on Bombay Sapphire at minimum. You won't catch me with Gordon's or London's or any of other the cheap nasty gins.

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Re: Ew, Gordon's?

Ah, yes, Bombay Saphire ... <sigh>

Of course, towards the end, I was reduced to the cheap, nasty ones.

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Happy

Re: Ew, Gordon's?

Aldi’s Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin won a silver medal in this year’s International Spirits Challenge. Worth a try at less than a tenner.

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Happy

Re: Ew, Gordon's?

Got to be Plymouth. Since trying it, I can't abide any of the London gins. So damn expensive, though.

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Re: Ew, Gordon's?

Plymouth? Bombay Sapphire? Egads, you'll be chasing it with a Carling Black Label no doubt.

Hendricks. Always, always Hendricks.

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N2
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Re: Ew, Gordon's?

Agreed, Gordons got mucked around with some years ago, an alleged 'improvement' but in reality to the detriment. I also prefer Bombay Saphire, Tanqueray or Hendricks.

Surprisingly Aldis own London Gin is supposed to be highly rated but cant get it in France - yet!

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N2
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Re: Ew, Gordon's?

Oh and Plymouth Gin as well

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Re: Ew, Gordon's?

Not even a mention yet of Sipsmith's.

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Anonymous Coward

British?

I thought it was an innovation of the Hollanders?

Isn't the only quintessentially British recreational pursuit the painting of Woad upon ones abdomen?

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Trollface

Re: British?

Briton != British

A quintessentially British pursuit is to sit drinking a nice G&T whilst simultaneously bringing civilisation and sophistication to those ungrateful Indians/Africans who only seem interested in causing harm to their betters.

A quintessentially Brythonic pursuit is to slaughter those bastard Roman invaders who sit around drinking wine all day whilst simultaneously condescending about bestowing civilisation.

Nihil orbis vertitur et mutatur. Cachu un diwrnod gwahanol.

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Thumb Up

Re: British?

I whole heartedly suggest a return to running around naked covered in blue paint!!!

It is odd that the neighbours think I am strange when I walk around naked covered in paint...

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Coat

Re: strange when I walk around naked covered in paint

It is strange if you do it in January. Though you need less paint.

<- is it me, or is it cold in here?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: British?

G&T is not even half as british as Pimm's. If I'd be mean-spirited I'd count Bailey's and Sheridan's as another uniquely British crime, but then I'm not a Loyalist so I can chalk it up to the Paddies many culinary atrocities.

Gin is indeed a Dutch import, who also have far more variety in taste (the UK only does 'young gin', they have all kinds of 'old gin', from colourless young to pensioner-pee-brownish-yellow).

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JC_

Re: British?

If I'd be mean-spirited I'd count Bailey's and Sheridan's as another uniquely British crime, but then I'm not a Loyalist so I can chalk it up to the Paddies many culinary atrocities

Baileys was concocted by a couple of advertising types in London in the 70s and named for the pub across the road from where they were working.

You can chalk it up as another British culinary atrocity and insult to Ireland :)

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Pint

TONIC?

Pinkers all the way for me. :o}

Beer is for wussies.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: TONIC?

Champagne is the only Gin mixer for me.

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I like Gin in one, and only one, place.

One large G&T as soon as possible after take-off on commercial air. Knocks me right the fuck out for the duration of the flight :-)

Hasn't been an issue since 9/11, of course ... I don't fly unless I'm at the controls, and will not fly commercial until the whole "security theater" concept dials back to cold-war levels[1].

As for "booming rabbit and vole populations.", that's kinda what guns were invented for. Sad that you lot no longer have that option, no?

[1] Did you ever think you'd read THAT comment & nod "yup"? Scary ... Our own Governments have become the very "terrorists" that they are claiming to protect us from ...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I like Gin in one, and only one, place.

Guns.. yes we DO have that option in the UK, I can pop down my local police station (well I think that is where I give in the forms) and get a shotgun license fairly easily, I can get a rifle license nearly as easily, all you need is a REASON (other than killing trespassers/burglars) and somewhere to use it....

But more importantly, for rabbits/rats/pigeons, you don't NEED a firearm, an air rifle does the job fine!

yes, hand Guns are banned, which I do disagree with, banning guns does not stop killings, it just reduces the entrants to the Darwin awards, and if you added decent checks including a psych evaluation & a minimum level of training (we insist car drivers pass a test, why not gun owners?) it would be safer than the current system...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I like Gin in one, and only one, place.

There's a persistent lobby trying to get airguns banned as well.

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Re: I like Gin in one, and only one, place.

Not to get sidetracked on the gun control issue, but yes I agree wholeheartedly that guns should be allowed as long as they are registered and appropriate training / safety measures are in place. What astonishes me about US NRA position is complete opposition to the most reasonable controls.

Safety - any manufacturer from the cheapest plastic widgets to the most complex machinery has to abide by certain safety controls and in the US it's possible to sue any manufacturer for injuries etc caused by their products even when without defects and used correctly. Gun manufacturers have total immunity.

Training - no country in the civilised world allows unqualified people to drive vehicles that re potentially dangerous, but apparently anyone just needs to be of age to be able to own and use a gun. This, to me, is really stupid. It would be a very simple matter to have training courses (probably NRA itself does them) and issue certification in use of handgun, rifle, shotgun etc like DVA issues license for motorcycle, car, truck etc.

Neither of these 2 items would infringe in the slightest on any civil liberties or gun ownership rights guaranteed by US constitution, yet NRA and gun lobby oppose them tooth and nail. Why?

One last thing about the argument that it's not guns that kill people, it's people that kill people. Given that countries such as Switzerland and Canada also have very high gun ownership rates and MUCH less gun-related crimes/violence than the US, that statement is probably correct.... but then leads to the conclusion that the US is home to way more than it's fair share of paranoid / hateful / violent / sadistic / angry people.

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WTF?

Shooting voles?

Do you know what a vole is and how small they are? Makes as much sense as trying to shoot wasps or cockroaches with an AK47.

" I don't fly unless I'm at the controls,"

Excellent, on less twit I run the risk of being sat next to when I fly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I like Gin in one, and only one, place.

" the US is home to way more than it's fair share of paranoid / hateful / violent / sadistic / angry people."

We can take that as read.

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Anonymous Coward

@James Re: I like Gin in one, and only one, place.

You have to consider the federal vs state issue as well. The NRA spends a lot of its time lobbying against federal gun control measures because such measures are unconstitutional. They also spend a lot of time lobbying for reasonable licensing and training regimes at the state level where such things should take place within the strictures of the constitution, but that never gets mentioned in the media because it contradicts the narrative of "NRA EVIL BAD MURDER BABIES OOGA BOOGA!"

Also worth recalling that the states with the strictest gun control measures are typically the ones where the most gun deaths occur per capita. The state with the least restrictive gun laws is New Hampshire, and it has the lowest rate of gun-related fatalities and injuries per capita in the entire United States.

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Happy

Re: Shooting voles?

"Do you know what a vole is and how small they are? Makes as much sense as trying to shoot wasps or cockroaches with an AK47."

Quite

Not forgetting the smallest and most difficult to find Patagonian nose vole.

Fortunately its habitat is not under threat.

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Coming clean ... (was: Re: Shooting voles?)

The Whippets & Greyhounds generally control the varmints.

I use an ancient Savage single shot bolt action, firing .22 short rounds, to control critters who have managed to avoid the dawgs in the feed barn. I dispatch maybe one per week ...

Moles, voles, etc. are generally kept at bay by "thumpers" in the gardens ... the critters are allowed full access, as long as they aren't getting too serious about the chow that runs this place. We don't live here because we hate the local fauna ...

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Unhappy

Re: @James I like Gin in one, and only one, place. -- and no guns!

Chickens and eggs come to mind. Perhaps New Hampshire doesn't feel the need for strict gun laws if it has civilised people living there.

Having said which, it seems clear to me that the problem with Americans and guns is not legal but cultural - they seem to worship violence in any shape or form, the more sadistic the better; and appear at the same time incapable of distinguishing between real life and Hollywood movies. Throw in easy access to guns and you have a lethal combination, as many schoolchildren discover every year. I bet the survivors would like to live in a country where the future of gin and tonic is more perilous than the future of yourself.

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Joke

When this crisis is over will Brian Blessed do a news item declaring

"Gordons Alive!"

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Mushroom

Nah, use him long before that. Just put him within 300 yards of an infected bush and have him bellow, "Bugger off!". It'll certainly kill the fungus, but it may also finish off the bush.

It's kill or cure, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Just make sure you're more than a mile away at the time.

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Botanist

Craft brewed in an ancient lomond still at Bruichladdich - I've yet to find anyone not to do a double take when taking their first gulp - it's a unique taste, but glorious.

50-60 liters a year - that's about 80 75cl bottles a year, i.e. about a quarter bottle, about 10 units a day.

Wimps.

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Re: Botanist

That's on average though. A lot of people wouldn't have even drunk the stuff, which means that you'd have a relatively small number of people drinking a very large amount of gin.

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Re: Botanist

Ah - different interpretation: I read "the average Londoner" to mean similar to "the man on the clapham omnibus", i.e. just a representative individual, not "on average a Londoner would drink"....

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Pint

Re: Botanist and maths

Something wrong with the maths there. One UK unit of alcohol is a 25ml serving of 40% volume.

A 1L bottle therefore has 40 units., a standard bottle is 700ml which gives 28 units.

Lets take the 50-60 litres a year as a litre a week. That is 40 units per week, or 5.7 units per day on average. That seems just about right to take the edge off after a hard days work.

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Unhappy

Re: Botanist

Bruichladdich recently taken over by the damn French, Remy Cointreau!!!1!one!

Will they fuck it up? A nation holds its breath

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Pint

Blow and Beer

To me it looks like the ones on the left are a bit stoned and on the right hand side we have Stella Street.

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Pint

Well

We'll have to swicth to Ouisghian Zodah.

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Mushroom

The Brand Don't Matter

What matters is .......if its at least !00 Proof and that you can set fire to it ! ( 54% by volume to the rest of the world ).

That way if the ugly fuggly your dating wont put out you can Flambe her

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Excellent article! Props to the author.

Botany, disease, art, history, dastardly crimes and the world's favourite drug all in one. El reg wins again.

Just fyi the sign over the dark arch, bottom left of gin lane, reads "Drunk for a penny / Dead drunk for twopence / Clean straw for nothing" <http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d0/William_Hogarth_-_Gin_Lane.jpg>. These days in a london pub you get a 25ml shot of spirits for maybe £2.50, making that £100/litre or about £450 for a gallon. Times change, eh.

To all the others on their favourite gins, I don't think, once it's hit the tonic, you can tell the various brands apart. I'm not sure there's much difference even before. I call snobbery on this. The only real difference is the alcohol concentration, which correlates to the strength of the taste. Stronger is better on both fronts.

Personally I drink mine neat, and I like it cheap and rough as a badgers arse (not that I'd know and badgers can't talk anyway).

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Re: Excellent article! Props to the author.

I have to say you can tell the difference with tonic, they all have their flavours.

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Using an air rifle to control the rabbit population is like trying to exterminate an ant's nest using only a pin.

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There's controling the rabbit population

and doing it a way that results in yummy dinners.

I'm just waiting for someone to produce a rice we can grow in Devon and viva la paella possibly washed down with some gin.

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Happy

It's not the Gin that makes you sick

I laughed when Clarissa Dickson Wright revealed (on Desert Island Discs IIRC) that she developed Quinine poisoning from drinking too many G&Ts .

P.S. Hendricks for me :)

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Pint

Worse?

"...what dry moralists blamed for misery, poverty, prostitution, murder, theft, and worse..."

Worse? You mean worse such as voting BNP?

Or _really_ worse such as drinking Bud Light?

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Anonymous Coward

blah

50-60 litres a year -- only amounts to 2 x 70ml doubles a day.

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