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A colourless spirit, distilled from rye, barley or maize, originating in Holland; but achieving the greatest popularity in England. It was probably invented by Dr. Franz de la BoÃ« in around 1650. He was known to combine grain alcohol with juniper oil to treat kidney disorders. Modern gin is still flavoured with juniper berries - hence its original name of jenever. In the 17th and early 18th centuries the cheap price of gin lead to thousands of deaths, particularly in London, and led to the Gin Acts of 1736 and 1751 which reduced gin consumption to a quarter of its previous level.
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