From jenever to gin
What would you do if the cognac tap closed? William of Orange III had a good alternative to the trade war in 1688: jenever. The English were not very good at this, they made their distillate more pleasant with botanicals.
In 1688, our stadtholder William of Orange III went to England to take over the throne together with his wife Mary Stuart. This is known as the 'glorious revolution' and happened to prevent England from having a Catholic king. In response to William and Mary's accession to the throne, Louis XIV started a trade war against England, which led, among other things, to the closure of the cognac tap.
Thanks to Willem van Oranje, an excellent alternative was soon available: jenever.
From jenever to gin.
For tax reasons, however, the jenever had to be re-distilled and botanicals were used to make the re-distillation more pleasant in taste. The name of jenever eventually degenerated into gin and in 1736 it was indicated in the 'Gin Act' that the basis of gin had to be pure neutral grain alcohol, so malt wine was permanently abandoned as the basis of gin - the very element that gives jenever its complexity.
Jenever the godfather of gin.
Although jenever is the predecessor of gin, the drinks differ a lot in terms of complexity and taste. Both use the juniper berry in their drink, but the difference is in the alcohol. Neutral alcohol is used for gin, where jenever also adds malt wine in addition to neutral alcohol for more body.