Monday, April 16, 2012

I am allergic to gin.

Sometime in the 10th or 11th grade, a friend and I decided we were going to be classy bitches and drink gin and tonics at a house party. Not long into our merriment, I broke out in hives and everyone at the party freaked out and then when I finally looked in a mirror I freaked out too and ended up taking lots of allergy meds and passing out. I woke up the next morning perfectly fine.

Since that incident, I have stayed away from anything with gin in it, because MAKES SENSE, AMIRITE?

This past Friday night, the Prince and I decided we were going to have a few drinks. While at the liquor store, I said something about how much it pains me that I’m allergic to gin, because gin and tonics are really good, and whenever I’m bartending and someone orders one I get jealous.

The Prince was all “Let’s just get a better kind of gin than you drank in high school. I bet it was that you were drinking cheap gin, and if we get good stuff, you’ll be fine.”

So we bought a bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin (because it had the prettiest bottle and was the most expensive brand available) and two litres of tonic and were on our way.

The gin in question. [via]

I was SO PUMPED for a gin and tonic when we got home that I’m pretty sure I had one poured before I even had my boots off. We had a pizza in the oven, Mad Men ready to play, drinks in hand… pretty decent set up for a Friday, no?

About 20 minutes into Mad Men, one slice into our pizza and half way through my first G&T, I started to feel a kind of pulsating feeling on the roof of my mouth, almost like I’d burnt it really badly. I naturally blamed this on the pizza being too hot. I kept drinking.

At the end of the Mad Men episode, I was starting to notice definite swelling and bumps on the roof of my mouth. The Prince looked over at me to catch me making strange faces and moving my tongue around weirdly, and he was all:

“Sweeeeetie, are you allergic to the gin?”

Me: “No, no, I think I just burnt my mouth on the pizza.”

The Prince: “The pizza is not that hot. Give me your glass, you shouldn’t drink that.”

Me: “BUT IT’S SO TASTY.”

This went on for a while until I really started to feel a full-on breakout of hives in my mouth and surrendered myself to letting the Prince stare inside my mouth with the help of the flashlight on his Blackberry.

And then, as you may have guessed, I pouted and complained about how unfair it was that The Prince now gets to drink all the pretty gin.

Is anyone else allergic to gin? I can’t seem to find much on the subject using my diagnosis Google abilities. I don’t have any other real allergies besides sometimes breaking out in hives from too much sun exposure. Is gin like some kind of liquid sunshine, maybe? BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT IT TASTES LIKE. GLORIOUS, GLORIOUS SUNSHINE.

Yours with a side of hives,

41 comments:

  1. oh man that is a damn shame since gin and tonic is one awesomely badass drink. i'm not allergic but from now on i will drink 2 glasses of it. one for you and one for me.

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    1. hahaha thanks Jessica, I appreciate it.

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  2. You don't have the problem with other types of alcohol? I used to get all flushed sometimes from very hoppy beers, but maybe that's because I had ten of them. Meh. I was going to say that as you aged, you would want to drink wine more than gin because wine is all grown up, but then I realized that might not be the case. I know plenty of older people who drink more than their fair share of gin.

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    1. Nope, it's all good except for gin! And I am a wine drinker usually- that's what I order and drink everywhere, this weekend was just a "let's do something different" sort of decision. I guess I'm better suited as a red wine girl after all :)

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    2. I read your story with great interest! I, too, am alergic to Gin, and have been drinking it for about ten years. It manifests as itching all over my body and hives on my torso. Very unpleasant! I am going to attempt to eliminate it and hopefully start to feel the symptoms subside.

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    3. It sucks that you're allergic but I'm glad I'm not the only one! Hives are the worst! Sooooo itchy!

      I avoid gin altogether now and of course that has solved the problem. No gin, no reaction. :)

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  3. Not so weird at all!
    I'm allergic to Tequila! One sip and I'm DONE FOR!!
    Worst part was... I found out in Mexico!
    One sip and I was out for 15 hours... it was brutal!!
    You're not alone my dear!

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    1. Ahhh that sucks too! We should start a club.

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  4. That's terrible! I love me a good g&t. What I would be VERY interested to know, however, is if you are also allergic to any other liquors or if this is the only one? And how common is that, really? Sounds so strange, but I guess it makes sense. Have you done a comprehensive survey of every other liquor? If not, please do so and get back to me. K, thanks.

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    1. Thanks for making me laugh!
      As far as I can tell, it's just the gin. Bartending for a spell means that I've tried most things out there... but EVERY? Probably not. I will get on this mission and report back. :)

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  5. That's awful. I don't like gin. I am allergic to basil though. Hives and all so I feel your pain with the strange allergies. Seriously, who's allergic to basil?! I hate cilantro and tell people I'm allergic to that too because it's more believable to be allergic to both basil and cilantro in my messed up head. In other news, sorry you're allergic to gin :(

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    1. Mmmmm I love cilantro! We have opposite tastes, ahha.
      Being allergic to basil must be kind of difficult at times.

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  6. Gin and tonics are awful.
    The end.

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  7. No gin allergies, but I am allergic to pineapple. I LOVE fresh pineapple. I buy them, cut them up, and eat them. Then my tongue swells out of my mouth and I somehow have a super dry mouth while simultaneously drooling uncontrollably. It burns for a couple days. So worth it.

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    1. Hhaahha. I love it. I'm not sure I would do that for fresh pineapple, but I support your dedication to its deliciousness.

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  8. Allergic to gin!!??? Poor you! G&Ts are my favorite! And I loooovvve Bombay. I feel sorry for you.

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    1. Thanks for your sympathy! I'm not getting much of that from The Prince ahah. From the little I had, I have to say that the Bombay was very very good. Have a g&t for me next time you're drinking!

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  9. have you tried Gin without the tonic? I am allergic to gin which is so sad because like you i love it...I'd hate for you to miss out if it's the tonic..

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    1. Yes, I did try that! I had amaretto with tonic and that was perfectly fine... well, NOT fine, because that means it really is the gin :(

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. Interesting. Found your(very funny) blog when I googled "gin allergy."

    I recently tried substituting gin as a way to reduce beer (carb) intake. A shot of gin (tanqueray), a splash of vermouth, and sparkling mineral water over ice (a fizzy martini on the rocks?). The other night I had just one of those (and no other alcohol). The next day I felt crappy all day. No hives, rash or swollen mouthparts though. Just mild all-day headache, intestinal unease, fatigue, mental spaciness.

    That night I went home and had two beers. The next day I felt much better.

    Coincidence? Maybe I'm just gin intolerant.

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    1. This post does seem to show up pretty well in Google searches, which I think is hilarious, ha.

      So beer is the cure, eh? I love it. I'm totally down with that.

      Maybe gin intolerance is "a thing". Someone told me it could be some kind of aversion to pine? Because there's sometimes pine in gin? I have no idea.

      Weird, nonetheless. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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    2. you're welcome!

      If beer is the cure for gin intolerance what is the cure for beer gut?

      i hate these acloholic conundrums!

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    3. The cure for beer gut... probably something even more terrible than hives... like crunches or something crazy.

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  11. I have never been allergic to gin in my past, but this weekend I've had 2 hive outbreaks whilst sipping such tasty beverages. Found your post when I googled/diagnosed myself. I think we might be the same person. Also, my arms are burning. Stupid, glorious gin--I mean sunshine. I think the gin gave me a sunburn. Hmph.

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    1. ahhaha, I love when people find my blog because they're having an allergic reaction to gin! It's my favourite. I'm sorry the glorious gin sunshine hurt your arms too!

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    2. That's exactly how I found your blog, oh 2 years later. Ha. I'm pretty sure the hives all over me come down to the gin now, thanks.

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  12. Maybe your just allergic to the tonic? It has this stuff called quinine and its used to fight malaria. You could be allergic to that and not the gin. :)

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  13. Fancy not being able to have a Gin!....its just not British!...anyway, I feel your pain, I have quite a severe reaction to gin...especially Bombay Sapphire...A migrane within minutes!...The better quality the gin the more likely you are to have a reaction (apparently), as there is more juniper in the good ones, and it is probably the juniper you are allergic too.......Its horribly unfortunate, we are clearly cursed! ;)

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  14. juniper. you are allergic to juniper berries.

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  15. Having loved Bombay Saphhire for years and Pimms No 1 Cup have to finally admit I too have an allergic reaction which is getting worse.To put in impolitely like being punched in the guts. I have been reading up and it seems the fact that it has distilled wheat may be the problem. The grain or the grape and in my case I wil have to head for the grape no problem there. Glad I'm not alone at least.

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  16. Mgmt - Do you have a similar problem when you drink a vodka tonic? If the answer is no, then you may be in luck. Gin is essentially infused vodka . . . infused with Juniper, among other things. So if Juniper is the issue, maybe try infusing your own vodka to get some similar flavor. Thyme, rosemary, cucumber even. There is lots of info. out there on home infusing, even home distilling. In the meantime, buy a nice bottle of vodka, and enjoy it with tonic and a twist of lime. One must never give up the battle for a good cocktail. Cheers!

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  17. I always knew I was allergic to some kind of pine-like tree. I would get a rash if I walked threw them and at some camp fires my face would get red and my eyes would water and swell up. Didn't think anything of it until...

    My first (and only) experience with gin was off-the-charts miserable. I didn't get hives, but I hallucinated and threw up after only a couple shots. We're not talking the average drunk-girl-at-a-frat kind of vomiting either. I puked for 12 hours and remember every minute of it. I haven't touched gin since.

    Moral of the story: Gin is flavored with juniper berries. Avoid both like the plague.

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  18. I'm allergic to gin I believe, but I express it as nausea rather than hives. I take one drink of gin and am immediately nauseous. Drink a whole one, and I'll spend the next hour puking. Fortunately, vodka tonics are equally tasty . . . although, I get an immediate enough reaction that I directly associate the taste with the sickness so I've learned not to like the taste of gin.

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  19. Found this entry when googling, yep, about gin allergies. Or, rather, juniper allergies! My sister and I both discovered this allergy on New Year's Eve a couple years ago, when we drank a Long Island iced tea for the first time. We both broke out in hives, read the list of ingredients... Surprise, neither of us had ever had gin before. Our mother pops up with: "Oh, yeah. I forgot, your dad was allergic to gin."

    Thanks, Mom.

    Anyway. Mine's bad enough that I can't touch Christmas trees or fresh wreaths, either. I'm apparently not just allergic to junipers, but to many different kinds of conifer.

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  20. I sincerely sympathize with you !!!

    I have had an allergic reaction, hives all over my body since Christmas (2012) as my regular evening drink is a G & T.

    I have finally found out through the process of elimination, that I am in fact ANOTHER who is allergic to my favourite drink, G & T. My favourite which just so happens to be the most expensive is TEN by Tanqueray but it doesn't matter what type of gin I drink, I break out in hives through the night and wake up a terrible mess the next day.

    If I stop drinking gin after 48 hours the very itchy rash and what looks like hives goes away.

    I'd like to find another drink that I like as much as my G & T's that I'm not allergic too if anyone has any suggestions.

    Cheers,
    Kathy

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  21. Thanks for sharing -- your entry (and the comments) are very interesting!

    I'm allergic to cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg... and I recently started having new allergic reactions and couldn't pinpoint it. I'm concerned it might be gin (we were recently given a lovely bottle of Tanqueray). I suspect I might be reacting to the coriander or juniper.

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  22. Hi,

    I realise this post is old, but I found it when googling "Gin Allergy"!

    I too have a gin allergy. I have to be really specific when I'm ordering cocktails because when I say "I have an allergy to gin" people don't believe me.

    My face and body get hot, red and swollen & I have trouble breathing.
    I have found its the juniper berries in gin that cause the allergy.

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  23. I think I may have a gin/juniper allergy as well. I know I'm allergic to anise, which I found out the hard way on vacation drinking pastis in France. Mine manifests in an oral hive outbreak (what I imagine hives would be like if they were inside your mouth). I recently had a similar experience and after trying to pinpoint what may have triggered it- I stumbled upon gin! Much to my chagrin! I've never drank much gin but just purchased a beautiful sapphire bottle to start experimenting with. From researching some gin makers put anise in, but supposedly not sapphire which led me to investigate juniper allergies and here I am. Glad I'm not the only one, but sad my amateur gin mixology attempts are over:(

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  24. Wayyyy late to the party, but I was just now google-diagnosing. I was really hoping I'd developed an allergy to quinine, because while not being able to have gin and tonics with juicy limes would break my heart, giving up gin entirely might put me into a genuine state of mourning. So last night we celebrated my husband's new job with dirty martinis. By the time we got home my extremities were poofed like balloons. Dammit. Dammit. Dammit.

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  25. Holy Cow! I have been trying to figure out where my raging case of hives originated. I went off all my meds and started a rice, banana, broth fast, seriously. I see now my nightly martini might be to blame but after ten years?! DEVIL!

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Thanks for commenting, lovely human.