Gin and friendship

By David Robert Breton, 2019-20 President of the Rotary Club of Kilsyth, Scotland and Raquel D’Garay-Juncal, 2020-21 President of the Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley, United States, Founders of the Proposed Rotary Fellowship of Gin

Are you a gin enthusiast who would love to meet other gin lovers? Do you know the basics of this sophisticated spirit? If you don’t or need a refresher, below are some worthwhile facts.

Gin is a juniper flavored spirit and can be found in various forms. Gin can be found worldwide, but is predominantly popular in the UK, Spain and the US. Gin was first made in the 17th century by British soldiers who’d tasted jenever during their time in the Netherlands and tried to recreate that uniqueness back in the UK. Their end product was different from the Dutch precursor to gin because it was piney, spiced and citrusy.

The good old-fashioned gin and tonic was popular for a while, thanks to tonic’s medical abilities (its key ingredient, quinine, is an antimalarial prophylactic). Cocktails became hot but eventually cooled, leading the way for the Spanish Gin Tonic, a sharper, fresher drink that reflects specific flavorings and styles rather than gin and tonic’s prescriptive recipe of ice and a lime slice.

As Rotary members who have attended Rotary International Conventions, the House of Friendship is one of those places where you meet and engage with so many like-minded people. We met in Toronto and after realizing that one of our favorite drinks was not listed as a recognized fellowship, we agreed that there was an opportunity to connect the world. So, on April 12th, 2020 we decided we were going to start the Rotary Fellowship of Gin. Raquel got the ball rolling with organizing our application with Rotary International, and by April 25th, the planning board was established. We are now in the formation phase of the Proposed Rotary Fellowship of Gin. We have found many successful ways to promote our group including social media, through hosting a booth in the Virtual House of Friendship, and other promotions such as this blog post.

During this short time, we have gathered several hundred followers. We utilize social media as our main recruitment tool encouraging fellow Rotary members and friends to invite their gin loving friends. We have been using Zoom not only to meet as a planning board, but also for followers of our Facebook page and group to have a “Gintastic Gin-Up.” We have held two social events with entertainment ranging from a quiz to bingo, all gin related of course! We hope to have another online social event to accommodate different time zones and to help promote our fellowship. Once we can meet in person, we are planning to have social events at each Rotary International Convention.

We are looking to mix things up, and as we prepare to embrace the Rotary Opens Opportunities presidential theme, this is a great opportunity for our exciting new Fellowship to do good in the world and support international projects. In addition to enjoying the common love for gin, the Rotary Fellowship of Gin will provide financial support to The Rotary Foundation and other international organizations with surplus membership fees.

We would love to have you join us whether you are a Rotary member or not! You can find out more on how to join the Rotary Fellowship of Gin by joining our Facebook group along with almost 300 members and by liking our Facebook page and following us on Instagram @GinFellowship.

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